featured photo

The Kitchen

Brought to you by
Body Wrappers; New York Flash Review Sponsor
the New York manufacturer of fine dance apparel for women and girls. Click here to see a sample of our products and a list of web sites for purchasing.
With Body Wrappers it's always
performance at its best.
Go back to Flash Reviews

Go Home

Flash Review 2, 4-9: Defying Gravity
Peking Acrobats are Their Own Special Effects

By Angela Jones
Copyright 2001 Angela Jones

When a show can fill you with the awe and wonder of a 10-year-old, you know you have had a good time (especially when the 10-year-olds around you confirm it). The physical feats of the Peking Acrobats at the New Victory Theater, seen Saturday, seem almost fake or surreal, defying laws of body mechanics and physics. It is like watching "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" live, without camera tricks creating the special effects.

Much of the show centers on balancing acts, plates, glass structures, chairs, people -- you name it. But the audience never seems to tire of each new twist on the theme. Jaw-dropping acrobatics (hence the name), pole and rope climbing round out the evening. All 26 members of this troupe are amazing athletes with grace and charisma in addition to their razor-sharp precision. And each time you get ready to clap for the big trick, they up the ante and surprise you by doing something you never even considered possible. Even though each act seems more sensational than the last, the show never ceases to be entertaining (which is more than I can say for many modern dance performances). The company also does not try to thread the acts together with any kind of real narrative line, and I appreciated the gimmick-free sense of raw physical virtuosity. However, the show is not simply a string of typical circus tricks totally lacking in creativity. The human lion/dragon act was especially engaging, making one forget that there were people under the incredible costumes, creating difficult physical machinations to produce this enchanting illusion of two giant lions balancing on a big ball or a lion suddenly popping out a baby lion that it had been carrying all along.

Although there is artistry in it, this show never intends to be art. It is honestly everything entertainment should be, uplifting, awe-inspiring and an exploration of the full extent of human potential. I often look for the reaction of kids in an audience when I see them at a show. I looked up to the balcony at intermission and noticed a boy in the balcony with his head thrown back trying to balance his program on a pen sticking out of his mouth. In my judgment, that's success.

Peking Acrobats continue at the New Victory through April 22, with performances this Wednesday at 2 and 7 p.m., Thursdays through Saturdays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m., and Sundays at noon and 5 p.m.

Go back to Flash Reviews
Go Home