No, not seen, WITNESSED, should have been the chosen word, for this group’s skills and stage presence - is not merely sighted by the viewer, but is visually catalogued, not just as an eye sight event, but as a total mind blowing experience.
The Peking Acrobats exhibit - demonstrate - unlike no other human aggregate, athletic dexterity and supreme symmetry - united in feats of power, units of unique balance - perfect poses proving perfect poise, with super duper juggling and balancing - to then be topped off - literally and figuratively, with leaps and bounds, and endless rapid-fire back flips. And all in a few minutes...
Truly, after witnessing the Peking Acrobats I know less about the human form than ever before because their moves seem to contradict the laws of physics certainly, and gravity partially and anatomy totally, yet, I do know this: my hands were so tired of clapping left hand over right, that I switched to right hand over left, to ease the cramping, for the first time in my life.
For what is not to like about a troupe of maybe eight guys and six girls who perform separately for a few routines to, finally, and rightfully, come together for a crowd pleasing finale where, these athletic magicians, with their jaw dropping, impossible acts give the spectator hope – that perhaps we humans can improve, if not like they have surely individually done, than at least a little bit.
Definitely, they provide a 45 minute relief from all that ails us, singularly or collectively. And there is a certain incongruity to all of this. Though their moves are indescribably hard, the setting they use is simply basic. A mat or two here, a hoop there, a ladder for later, some eggs, diabolos (a string, two hand sticks and two cups/discs) for the women, and a volunteer from the crowd.
But perhaps, when your raw and refined talents are so overwhelmingly obvious, you don’t need razzle-dazzle pyrotechnics, throngs of accompanying dancers or singers, huge video displays – all to mask the facts that the group on stage may be missing some essentials in their craft(s).
Now don’t get me wrong, certain accessories were fantastic. The outfits the performers wore were tight to show off beautiful bodies, but loose to allow those bodies to reach unnatural heights, and it must be added, unnatural contortions. The clothes (mostly satin I think) were brightly colored (lots of yellows and reds) some with sequins, others with prints and patterns, some unadorned – but all looked smashing and the music accompaniment was smashing too, and rocked. But other than a soundtrack and the attire, and the above noted props - and humor: classily offered without scene stealing and hamming it up - it was just these performers wowing an audience.
That’s it. But it was WAY more than enough.
Now, for us history buffs acrobatics in China has been tumbling along since the Xia Dynasty 4,000 years ago. The show then, was, applauded, but not lauded, until 1,500 years after - when the Middle Kingdom’s Warring States went gaga over their fellow citizens majestically mastering the feats with plates, vases, bowls, tables, and chairs until now, at the Calgary Stampede 2016, when AGAIN FOR THEM THE UMPTEENTH TIME, this Chinese-cultural-civility ACT (demonstrated initially, by troubadours) made the anatomically inscrutable
and made the rest of us sit up and admire these Sino superstars for showing the world their rich tapestry that wove and spun games, and sports, and music and dancing and stories - and mother nature - into...the Peking Acrobats.
Finally, it has to be stressed again that watching these amazing athletic actors does give credence to civilization; does give hope to us humans, and does give plausible possibilities of what we, the people, can achieve mentally and physically.