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Peking Acrobats to Swing Through Santa Barbara for One Night

Experience the Chinese troupe's tradition and physical artistry at The Granada on Jan. 16

The Peking Acrobats, China’s most celebrated troupe of tumblers, contortionists, jugglers, cyclists and gymnasts, will bring the 2,000-year-old tradition of Chinese acrobatics to North America for an extensive 40-city tour beginning in January, including a single engagement at 8 p.m. Jan. 16 at The Granada.

Part of the Granada’s enTRANCE! The Series, The Peking Acrobats present audiences of all ages the opportunity to view the epitome of a rich and ancient folk art replete with all the pageantry and spectacle of the modern Chinese theatrical circus.

“There was no question we would bring them back,” Granada executive director Peter Frisch said. “The experience for our audience last year was unquestionably one of the season’s highlights.”

The Peking Acrobats’ ability to perform the astounding is rooted in centuries of Chinese history. Records of acrobatic acts can be found as early as the Ch’in Dynasty. According to Fu Qifeng, author of Chinese Acrobatics Through the Ages, acrobatics originated from the people’s daily life, drawing from their experiences in work, war and sacrificial rites.

During the Warring States Period, acrobatics became widespread. It was believed that practicing acrobatics could still the will, increasing physical strength and accuracy of movement. Today, Chinese acrobats continue to perfect an evolving folk art form. Tradition demands that each generation of acrobats add its own improvements and embellishments. Each new movement or action takes many years to practice and perfect.

In fact, because of the unusual and difficult nature of the feats involved, high honor is conferred upon those skilled enough to become acrobats in China; an acrobat can be considered the Chinese equivalent of an American opera star. After 10 to 11 years of extensive tutoring, often beginning as early as age 5 or 6, the artist will join a professional troupe, usually a citywide organization that draws its members regionally. Only the best acrobats find themselves members of an elite world-touring troupe such as The Peking Acrobats.

The Peking Acrobats have built a tremendous reputation over the years, appearing not only on stages around the globe, but also on many popular TV shows. They have performed with world-famous symphony orchestras, for prestigious corporations and in five consecutive European tours in recent years, visiting such countries as Italy, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands. In addition, they have been featured in star-studded feature films, including Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven.

Tickets for the show are $25 to $55, with children age 15 or younger receiving a 50 percent discount. Tickets are available at the Granada box office at 1214 State St. or 805.899.2222, or click here to purchase them online.

— Vincent Coronado is marketing director for The Granada.

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