Peking Acrobats prepare for awe-inspiring show at the Strom Auditorium
ROCKPORT—The Peking Acrobats, a troupe of extraordinary Chinese acrobats will be tumbling, somersaulting and trick-cycling their way through the Midcoast Thursday, March 1, thanks to Bay Chamber Concerts.
Spanning a 30-year career, the troupe has performed internationally, defying gravity with astonishing balancing feats and precision gymnastics —accompanied by live musicians on Chinese folk instruments. Having appeared on numerous TV specials including Ellen DeGeneres’ “Ellen’s Really Big Show” and in movies such as Steven Soderbergh's “Ocean's 11” and its two sequels, the Peking Acrobats will perform at Camden Hills Regional High School’s Strom Auditorium.
“This is going to be a stunning performance,” said Monica Kelly, Bay Chamber Concerts’ Executive Director.
According to the study guide the Peking Acrobats provided to each of the schools attending the morning performances, acrobatics is a form of entertainment in Chinese culture dating back to the Han Dynasty (around 207 BC). When children as young as six show promise in acrobatics, many parents encourage them to audition for acrobatic school. To be selected as a Peking Acrobat is a great honor for a family, but also a sacrifice, for if accepted, the children have to leave home to attend a special acrobatic school six days a week, studying academics along with gymnastics, juggling, martial arts, and the dynamics of balance, speed, and timing. If by 13 or 14 years old, the student shows exceptional skills, he or she is taken on a world tour with daily performances.
On Wednesday, Feb. 29, the troupe is flying into Maine and will arrive that evening to rest at the Lord Camden Inn. Then, starting promptly at 6 a.m. Thursday March 1, the troupe will arrive at the Strom Auditorium, where they will work with the student stage technicians to set up all of their equipment for the show.
“As part of Bay Chamber’s Community Engagement Program, the Peking Acrobats will perform their first free show for CHRHS, Watershed, Montessori and Ashwood at 9 a.m.,” said Kelly. “After that, at 11 a.m. they’ll perform a second free show for students who are being brought in from nine different schools from all over the state. They’ll take a break and that night, they’ll perform their third show for the public at 7 p.m.”
“Besides the fact that this is going to be a spectacular show, the most meaningful thing to me is giving area school children the opportunity to see a live performance rich with the cultural aspects that they don’t often experience in Maine,” said Kelly.
Tickets for the public show are Adults $25 Under age 25, $10 and can be purchased here.
Any parent who who wants the Peking Acrobats study guide can find it uploaded to this story.
Kay Stephens can be reached at email@example.com