If it can’t be true, it must be magic. Or a performance by the Peking Acrobats. For the past 50 years, this troupe of Chinese athletes has made the impossible come alive. They’ve performed feats unimaginable to the common man with ease and flair that has left audiences worldwide spell bound. And, this December, you can catch them live in the Netherlands.
On 5 December, the troupe will perform at Delft’s Theater de Veste, followed by a show on 9 December at De Rijswijkse Schouwburg. Trained in 2,000 year old athletic disciplines, the troupe comprises gymnasts, jugglers, cyclists and tumblers, all of whom come together in a carefully choreographed (and sometimes death-defying) sequence showcasing ancient Chinese folk art. Bear in mind, all of this is done to the backdrop of a live musical arrangement by a Chinese orchestra.
Being a member of Peking Acrobats is a matter of honour for those in the business. In fact, each member of the troupe is handpicked and has often received extensive training from the age of five. Jaw-dropping even in the 21st century, the earliest records of Chinese acrobats date back to 221 BC, during the Ch’in Dynasty.
Watching them perform is said to be an almost surreal experience. As performers balance on precarious surfaces, somersault as if they are flying and contort their bodies in ways the average human mind cannot comprehend – it is hard not to believe that some trickery isn’t underfoot. “…This is a show that will probably twist you around in your seat,” wrote The New York Post about a performance by the acrobats.