Canada 150
Good ReadsThe Chinese Circus Comes to the Music and Beyond Festival to Delight and Amaze

The Chinese Circus Comes to the Music and Beyond Festival to Delight and Amaze

The Chinese Circus Comes to the Music and Beyond Festival to Delight and Amaze

Music + Circus (56 of 56)Music + Circus (33 of 56)Music + Circus (17 of 56)All photos by Andre Gagne.

Music + Circus (13 of 56)The Music and Beyond festival strives to find new ways to live up to its name and this year has been no different adding cinema and Shakespeare to the mix of musical acts. However, their most unique performances might just be the decision to bring the circus to the Great Canadian Theatre Company by way of China when 18 acrobats join dancers, clowns and magicians for 16 shows by the famed Hebei Acrobatic Troupe.

Music + Circus (3 of 56)Hebei is a province in the North China region formed in 1928. Of course, the origins of Chinese circus date back much further, over 2000 years, to when China was unified by the First Emperor Qi Shi Huang. It is believed the first performances came from those done for the Imperial court when the ancient Chinese called the circus the Show of a Hundred Tricks. In 1949, after a decline of these types of performances due to the war, the government deemed circus performances were a form of art that should be preserved. Today, there are over 200 circus and acrobatic troupes in China with the Hebei troupe being one of the must see productions.

Music + Circus (18 of 56)The acrobats of Hebei are trained rigorously in their art and need to be focused in many aspects of body contortion. The performances for the Music and Beyond shows included dancing, the Chinese pole and hand balancing acts, silk rope and hoop diving. The troupe was established in October of 1976 and has gone on to perform in many world competitions in places like Monaco, France, Russia and Italy. Their efforts have won them over 40 awards.

“We have been developed to be a world famous acrobatic show. The acrobats have developed themselves into creating amazing art pieces and presentations,” the evening’s host, Kira, informed an audience heavily made up of families with wide-eyed children.

Music + Circus (6 of 56)Music + Circus (32 of 56)Music + Circus (34 of 56)Music + Circus (27 of 56)

Music + Circus (39 of 56)From the moment the Chinese lions danced onto the stage to traditional music the audience was enraptured, some leaning forward in their seats to get a better look at the show. You could hear the gasps for the magician’s sleight of hand and the laughter when the clowns took to the stage to create gigantic balloon animals to give to the elated youngsters. The traditional music was played throughout with a live performance of the guzheng adding melody to the contorting snake girl dance.

Music + Circus (38 of 56)One of the more breathtaking shows was the silk rope act where, suspended high about the Irving Greenberg Theatre stage, the performer wove her body around red silk in various positions before plummeting towards the floor only to be caught by the rope at the last moment. The finale included the troupes most awarded act, hoop diving. Precise aim was needed for the acrobats as they flipped and dove through various hoops to rousing applause.

Music + Circus (45 of 56)Music + Circus (54 of 56)Music + Circus (51 of 56)Music + Circus (46 of 56)

The show continues this evening at 7:30 with more performances between then and Sunday. Tickets can be purchased on the festival’s website.

FC3

Ottawa Life’s Festival City Series will provide a unique look at some of your favourite summer events.We’ll go beyond the music with artist interviews, volunteer profiles, concert reviews and spotlights on the tastes, sights and sounds of the festival season. Your city! Your festivals! Your summer! Like a good sunscreen, Ottawa Life has you covered.

Comments (0)

*Please take note that upon submitting your comment the team at OLM will need to verify it before it shows up below.