COURTESY MEADER ARTS
The acrobatic performances in "Chi," sometimes executed 20 feet off the ground, come from a tradition that is centuries old, in which feats were elaborations on folk games, sports and trades. The Chi troupe will perform at Blaisdell Concert Hall from Oct. 5 to 9.
Chi pushes limits of human acrobatics
When the 28 male and female Chinese acrobats of the Chi troupe descend on the Blaisdell Concert Hall next Wednesday, audiences will see during the nearly two-hour show a dozen "elements" that include Kicking the Benches, Holding a Pole, and Rotating in the Air like Snowflakes.
"Chi: A New Era in Circus"
When: 8 p.m. Oct. 5 to 8, and 2 p.m. Oct. 9
Where: Blaisdell Concert Hall
Tickets: $18 to $48
Sounds easy, right? Forget about it, couch potato.
Some of the highly choreographed pieces by the acrobats are done while elevated 20 feet off the ground, or require human pyramids, or lots of stacked chairs.
The nine women and 19 men in the performing troupe have been "in training" since age 3 in a remote region of northern China. Their ages range from 17 to 30 years old.
Acrobats, by any definition, are highly trained and disciplined athletes. But where Chi has made its mark in its second U.S. tour in the world, is in its western-style production values, such as enhanced theatrical lighting, high quality sound, and more thoughtful choreography that make for seamless transitions between acts.
The life force known as chi also combines martial arts with the high flying acrobatics.
Chi draws its name from principles of Taoist philosophy. Literally translated, chi means "energy" or "breath." Chi strikes a yin-and-yang balance with poised and peaceful acts, coupled with powerful, unrestrained and impassioned scenes.
Chi also builds upon a tradition that is centuries old. The origin of modern-day acrobatics can be traced back to ancient China where the art form began as elaborations on folk games, sports and trades. The astounding acrobatic feats of today were derived from simple acts of labor, craftsmanship and religious ceremonies of the past.
A spokesperson for the company said that, though their routines appear injury defying, the acrobats are attached to cables for safety's sake and to prevent dangerous spills. (It also helps that one of the team leaders is a health practitioner, and another is a massage therapist.)
Audiences have been captivated by how some can push their bodies in a way that the average person can't imagine. And that thrilling feeling is part and parcel in experiencing the Chi acrobatics.