In China, acrobats are revered as much as opera singers in the West.
The ancient art form dates back well over 2,000 years. Historical records provide evidence for the development of Chinese acrobats as far back as the Xia Dynasty 4,000 years ago. Records also suggest acrobatics did not become wildly popular, however, until the emperor embraced the discipline as court entertainment, about 2,500 years ago.
During the Han Dynasty (207 B.C. – 220 A.D.), acrobatics flourished and the wide variety of juggling, tumbling and magic acts came to be known as the “Hundred Entertainments.” Legend has it that when the Emperor Wu Di invited a group of foreign dignitaries to witness a performance, his guests were so impressed they agreed to enter into military alliances with their august host.
More contents and varieties were quick to develop. Musical accompaniment was soon added to the performance as interest in the art form grew among the emperors. During the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 AD) the number of acrobats greatly increased as the skills of each individual performer slowly began to become much more precise and bedazzling.
The clowns, wrestlers, acrobats, singers and musicians who entertained the court by acting out mythical stories and famed fables were the precursors of the Peking Opera, a multi-faceted art form.
The Golden Dragon Acrobats embody the Chinese philosophy that good theatre must show the real struggle of humans to succeed and survive, as well as the joys of living.
Their art form displays the grace, beauty, strength and agility of the human race while making the seemingly impossible and virtually unbelievable manifest.
Sounds like Obama could use one of them in his cabinet.