Beijing acrobats

My new friend K. wanted to see the famed traditional acrobats while he’s here studying for a month in Beijing, so I decided to head over to one of their performances with him. I’d never seen the full-out show, having only experienced a few acts of acrobatics while at a more pervasive (and less fun) Chinese cultural extravanga at the touristy Lao She Tea House six years ago. The best part of that night had been my discovery of watermelon seeds spiced with anise, a favorite Chinese snack that I actually haven’t had since I’ve been here (even though I feel the need to run to the Chinese supermarket at home every once in a while and buy them). I think I might look for them soon. They make a terrific not-awful snack food.

In any case, I was pretty impressed with these acrobats, who not only balanced in all sorts of contorted positions, but often did it while holding on with their mouths to various sexual-seeming apparati or swinging from a ribbon in a duet with another acrobat (this effect was sometimes heteroerotic, sometimes homoerotic, as K. aptly put it). There were also plate twirlers, bicycle tricksters, and, surprisingly, a few acrobats who danced to music that approached hip hop. My favorite music was the Chinese ’80s music megamix that came on for the grand finale. But that shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Posted by on November 3rd, 2005

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