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Queens Chronicle

From China, not your usual acrobatics

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Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2013 10:30 am

Cirque du Soleil? Get real.

The circus coming to town? Boring.

Those jugglers in the park? A bunch of amateurs.

The Peking Acrobats will be swinging through the Kupferberg Center for the Arts on Feb. 22. at 7 p.m.

The high-flying group has gained notoriety for its seemingly physics-defying show since its Western debut in 1986.

The group’s techniques are rooted in Chinese history and folk art, but include death-defying maneuvers such as the famous pagoda of chairs, in which performers balance themselves on a diagonal stack of chairs, making your weeknight Jenga games seem like a piece of cake.

They’re master practitioners of trick-cycling, precision tumbling, somersaulting and gymnastics, adept at all kinds of feats of flexibility, balance and strength.

The group will be accompanied by live musicians playing traditional Chinese instruments, with special effects that match the rhythm and time of the music.

If the acrobats seem familiar, you have probably caught them on television. They’ve appeared on a number of shows, ranging from Nickelodeon’s “Unfabulous” to ABC’s Wide World of Sports and ABC’s “The Wayne Brady Show.”

They’ve also made regular appearances on NBC/Comcast’s new 3-D channel. And they had a cameo in the recent remake of “Ocean’s Eleven.”

Their brand of entertainment, though, goes back to the Ch’in, or Qin, Dynasty, which lasted from 221 to 207 BC. The art form has been evolving ever since to include variations and new forms of old tricks.

The acrobats performed at the Hollywood Bowl as part of the arena’s Fireworks Season Finale.

The troupe also released a high-definition DVD of its 25th Anniversary Tour in 2011.

The aerialists have been gaining a growing presesence in the West, with a 2005 tour in Italy, where they performed across the nation, from Milan to Pisa and Naples.

They enjoy a special level of reverence back home, where being skilled enough to become an acrobat is considered the equivalent of being a major opera singer.

Joseph Orovic
‘Peking Acrobats’

When: Friday, Feb. 22, 7 p.m.

Where: The Colden Auditorium, The Kupferberg Center, Queens College, 65-30 Kissena Blvd., Flushing

Tickets: $20-$30

(718) 793-8080 KupferbergCenter.org

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