International stars The Peking Acrobats return to Cal Performances on Saturday, January 25 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday, January 26 at 3 p.m. for three performances described as “amazing—and stunning and breathtaking and WOW!” (Seattle Times). Led by director Ken T. Hai, the troupe delights audiences with a stunning variety of performances, including wire-walking, trick-cycling, precision tumbling, somersaulting, and gymnastics. This elite group consisting of gymnasts, jugglers, cyclists, tumblers and musicians is considered one of the top practitioners of the ancient art of Chinese acrobatics. The Peking Acrobats will be accompanied by Jigu! Thunder Drums of China, a world-renowned company of drummers, percussionists, and musicians who play traditional Chinese instruments, such as the erhu (small bowed instrument with two strings), pipa (lute-like string instrument), dizi (flute made of bamboo) and the yangquin (dulcimer played with bamboo mallets).
The Peking Acrobats have been ambassadors of the unique and storied pageantry of Chinese Carnivals since the group’s 1986 tour of North America. The origins of Chinese acrobatics began nearly 2,200 years ago during the Ch’in Dynasty (221–207 B.C.). However, the art truly started to flourish into a wide variety of juggling, tumbling, and magic acts known as the “Hundred Entertainments” during the Han Dynasty (207 B.C.–A.D. 220). To this day, acrobats are given high status and honor in China as they are chosen from a highly selective process and are dedicated, hardworking artists.
The Peking Acrobats have enjoyed success worldwide. Notable performances include collaborations with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, and the Atlanta, San Diego, and San Francisco symphonies. The troupe has also been featured on many television shows and specials, including The Wayne Brady Show, ABC’s Wide World of Sports, NBC’s Ring in the New Year Holiday Special, Nickelodeon’s Unfabulous, and Fox’s Guinness Book Primetime TV in which they set the world record for on the height of the human chair stack.
Tickets for The Peking Acrobats on Saturday, January 25 at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, January 26 at 3:00 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall range from $22.00 to $56.00 and are subject to change. Tickets are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988; at calperformances.org; and at the door. Half-price tickets are available for children under 16 and UC Berkeley students. For more information about discounts, visit http://calperformances.org/buy/discounts.php.