The Golden Dragon Acrobats Presents Cirque Ziva

Article by Ismary Munet
Photo credit Niko

The Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College continued its 2013-14 season with Cirque Ziva.

Since its creation in 2011, Cirque Ziva, a Chinese art form cirque spectacular, from The Golden Dragon Acrobats has been awing its audiences with its precise, intricate, and dazzling performances. From constructing towers with their own bodies to spinning plates upside down, while atop one another, these acrobats and contortionists, continue to be the world’s leading promoters of Chinese acrobatics.

The cirque spectacular combines theatrical techniques with Chinese acrobats, costumes, choreography, and both ancient and modern music.

The group’s founder, producer and artistic director is Danny Chang. Chang began his training at the age of eight with his family’s acrobatic school in Taipei, and joined its touring wing, the Golden Dragon Acrobats, at age ten. He is the recipient of many awards, including the prestigious Medal for International Faith and Goodwill by the Republic of China’s Coordination Council for North American Affairs.

In 1998, Chang restructured the Golden Dragon Acrobats to form Asian Artists Productions, Inc. (AAPI). While the new company continued to produce and tour the Golden Dragon Acrobats, AAPI expanded to create theatrically elaborate shows like Circo Magnifico, Dream, Pagoda, Cirque D’or and others, each for a specific US market.

The Golden Dragon Acrobats hail from Cangzhou, Hebei province, in the People’s Republic of China and have continuously toured the United States since 1978. Its members are athletes, actors, and artists who have studied and trained for their craft since early childhood. The group averages 200 performances each year and has toured through all 50 states and in over 65 countries across the world.

In 2005, their Broadway debut and seven-week run at the New Victory Theater earned two prestigious New York Drama Desk Award nominations for Best Choreography and Most Unique Theatrical Experience.

The Cirque Ziva acrobats conquer audiences with their athleticism, daring stunts, and the grace of centuries that their ancient art form holds. Some acrobats juggle balls with their hands and feet as they lay on their backs, and others demonstrate their power and technique as they climb one another, and stretch their limbs to unthinkable measures.

These performances can only be executed with the skill and determination that these acrobats have. It’s clear that they are not merely performers, but cultural and artistic ambassadors.

Cirque Zíva is the latest of The Golden Dragon Acrobats shows, created in 2011 by AAPI in coordination with renowned lighting director Tony Tucci, whose other credits include the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and the 1996 Summer Olympics Cultural Olympiad. The production ran for ten straight weeks, four weeks added by popular demand, at Asbury Park Boardwalk’s Paramount Theatre, which was the first-ever run held at the New Jersey venue in its more than 80-year history.

The troupe has announced a five-week New York City run at Broadway’s New Victory Theater from Dec. 1, 2014 to Jan. 4, 2015. This makes the only acrobatic troupe from China to be chosen twice for this prestigious venue.

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