[ATTENDED: April 2, 2017] Golden Dragon Acrobats
Just over four years ago we saw the Golden Dragon Acrobats perform Cirque Ziva. The founders of Golden Dragon Acrobats created Cirque Ziva as a special touring production in 2011. This show was quiet similar to that performance, (I wasn’t sure if, since it wasn’t called Cirque Ziva, it would be very different) but there were some minor changes that were pretty exciting.
More exciting was that since the kids were much younger four years ago, they didn’t exactly remember things that well, so they were pretty thrilled by everything.
I had mentioned that Cique Ziva had flash in costumes and sets. For this show the costumes were certainly here, although the sets were pretty simple.
As you can see from the “setlists” below, the acts were pretty similar and in pretty much the same order. The show opened with the thousand hands.
Since the acts were basically the same, I’m going to copy much of what I wrote then and see if I have any updates:
And then it was time for the women to show off. The first item was called “Thousand Hands.” Six identically dressed women (with super long golden nails) stood one behind the other and then their arms spread out in a wild and wonderful array. They worked in beautiful synchronicity and it looked amazing.
We had seen something similar with Taj Express. But the fingernails really made this great. Clark and I were pretty much right in the center so the effect of the multiple arms was pretty cool.
Previously they had some group contortions, but not this time, there was only the individual contortionist, and that was pretty awesome in itself. She put a tower of glasses on the bottom of her foot and the proceeded to bend her body in impossible ways–as I said last time: we all agreed the woman was mind-blowing and a little gross. The thing that really struck me this time was that by the end of her doing all of these bends, you can’t help but thing that the tower is glued together or something. But when she finished the act, she dissembled the pyramid and then showed that there was actually water in the glass! That was cool.
This morphed into two women with more balancing pyramids. This time they were holding a pole in their teeth and balancing another pole with glasses on top of that. And of course, they did things that made it even harder and more amazing.
And then it was back to fun, with a guy on a teeter totter. He placed bowls on the end of the teeter totter and flipped them onto his head, one after the other. It wasn’t over the top in any way but it was utterly amazing–he made it look so easy.
Then came our favorite–the hoops.
The male acrobats show such amazing poise and control of their bodies. Watching them line up perfectly, do flips and slowly feed their bodies into tiny hoops–it’s tremendous. The hoops involve them running across the stage and flipping, diving, somersaulting through hoops. A larger one on top and smaller ones underneath. I really enjoyed watching them slowly go through the smaller hoops and then go in reverse the same way they went in the first place.
The biggest surprise to me [not a surprise this time] came with the ball juggling because the juggling was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. The balls were largish (maybe a small soccer ball) and they did all the juggling with their feet (while sitting upside down on an inclined chair). This culminated in a fascinating scene in which three women on top of each other juggled balls to each other in what looked like nothing less than a perfect machine. Next came hat juggling in which the men did some fun spins and flips with hats that seemed like they may have been filled with helium the way they floated around. Later on there was also umbrella juggling in which the women did amazing things with these special umbrellas–flipping them spinning them throwing them in the air (almost all with their feet again). The final prop was a table–not a large table, but a table nonetheless and the woman did amazing things with this table and her feet–flipping it end over end, spinning it the table top–doing things I can’t imagine doing with my hands yet she was doing them with her feet.
In between the balls and the hats (which are almost comic relief) was the pole act. This was entirely new to me. A man (who walked so incredibly slowly and gracefully, it was very impressive), grabbed onto a pole that looked like a coat rack. And then he proceeded to lift himself off the ground so effortlessly, it appeared that hew a levitating. It’s not so much the strength that these guys have (which is tremendous, obviously), it is the grace with which they do this. He was able to pull himself up, sideways, upside down, every which way. On at least two occasions, as he lifted himself sideways he made it look like he was walking up the wall–all of this in incredible slow precise steps. It was mesmerizing.
As the first act came to an end they did a unicycle performance. What blew my mind was that the unicycles didn’t have seats, so really it was a just a wheel with pedals. And they drove around on them and did stunts and–most remarkable of all, leaped over people onto a waiting cycle and started pedaling–they landed on the pedals (ouch!). This turned into some fun jump rope activity–lassos and people leaping and spinning through them. They even did rope jumping on those unicycles!
When he hopped up the stairs on the unicycle and then proceeded to jump rope on the cycle, it was pretty amazing.
an incredible feat of strength from two men–at one point the man on the bottom held the man on top upside down and they were more or less head to head–at first they had their arms locked but then they let go and the man on the top was doing a head stand on the neck of the man on the bottom. I can’t even imagine how it was done. The rest of the strong act was staggering with feats of balance and strength that were incredible.
And again, done with slowness and grace–they held each other in positions that seems imply impossible.
The one utterly unique act was the Lion Dance/Face Change. We love the lions, who are so much fun because you know that there are two people under these costumes and yet somehow you forget and you marvel that these creatures can do that. And then when you remember it is two people, you still marvel at how they do that. The lions were a little shorter than I like–they didn’t do quite as much. But they did do a few comic things that I’ve never seen before. Like the way they lay down like animals–I don’t know how two people can do that to make it look so good. They also did some comical stuff where the one bit the other on the behind and then starting biting/itching his own leg the way dogs do.
But they served mostly as background for the Face Change. A woman came out wearing a mask that constantly changed color and design. It was magic, and it was neat (although a little slow). We were far back and it looked great, but the end though, she walked in front of the front row and made the masks change close up. I can’t figure out how it was done.
More juggling with umbrellas (which are fun because thy are seemingly unpredictable) and the jars/table. Again, it looks neat but too much juggling. But that was all set up for the main feature: The chair act
they stacked up chairs and did crazy feats of strength on the top of this visible rickety tower. Even though we’d seen it before it was still incredible and hold-your-breath scary. And, in this case, the acrobat spoke to the audience and encouraged more cheers from us–he had real stage presence, which is not something that the Chinese acrobats usually bother with. The height at which this guy did his thing was hard to fathom and if the chairs had tipped forward he would have been in about row ten.
This act is always amazing–seriously dangerous (but maybe not). I really enjoyed the announcement that said “do not try this at home.” I couldn’t tell if that was a legal requirement or just comic relief.
After the chairs, there was some light relief with Giant Flags. After swinging it around, he began sweeping under people as they flipped over them. Nothing too special but it looked cool.
The finale was a group performance on a bicycle with all of the troupe climbing on and balancing as he rode around in circles. My first thought was that when the first guy climbed on, he threw his legs over the shoulders of the rider, and how that alone would topple most bike riders.
It is really fun watching them all pile onto this bike as the guy rides around. And they finished up with some cool strength/balance displays as they all climbed on each other and supported each other in crazy shapes.
As I said last time: The kids loved it. Sarah and I both loved it
I decided that from now on everyone needs to enter a room by doing a somersault and a back handspring and then standing on line with everyone else.
And this time we actually saw a few people we knew at intermission. I’m so glad that more and more people are learning about the great shows at RVCC. And keep up the great programming!
|Cirque Ziva, 2013||Golden Dragon, 2017|
|Spinning Ring||Thousand Hands|
|Group Contortion||Head Balancing|
|Single Contortion||Bowl Juggling
|Head Balancing||Hoop Act
|Single Pole Act||Advanced Ball Juggling|
|Hoop Act||Pole Act
|Ball Juggling||Hat Juggling
|Hat Juggling||Group Uni-Wheels|
|Group Uni-Wheels||Drum Juggling
|Silk and/or Power Act||Lion Dance/Face Change
|Jar/Table Juggling||Jar/Table Juggling|
|Diabolo||Tower of Chairs|
|Tower of Chairs||Flags/Bicycle Family|