Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Silk Road Acrobats from China Perform in Pittsburgh


Today's date: October 3, 2011

Silk Road Acrobats

October 16-23, 2011 at various venues throughout the region

Pittsburgh International Children’s Theater, a division of The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, presents the Pittsburgh premiere of Silk Road Acrobats from China, October 16-23, 2011, at six performance locations throughout the area. Performance locations include: City: Byham Theater, October 16 at 2:00 p.m. & Student Matinee: October 17 at 10:15 a.m.; East: Gateway High School, October 19 at 7:00 p.m.; North: Marshall Middle School, October 20 at 5:30 & 7:30 p.m.; West: Moon Area High School, October 21 at 7:00 p.m.; South: Mt Lebanon High School, October 22 at 11:00 a.m. & 2:00 p.m.; and Butler: Seneca Valley Senior High School, October 23 at 2:00 p.m.

Citizens Bank is the season sponsor of Pittsburgh International Children’s Theater.

A fusion of ancient and Chinese acrobatics and modern dance, the Silk Road Acrobats, from the Uyghur region in northwestern China, inspire audiences with precision, grace, and thrilling choreography. The music emulates the hard/soft, strong/weak interpretation of the Yin Yang (Dark / Light and Female/ Male) in Chinese culture and proudly preserves an ancient tradition as important to Chinese culture as song and dance. As their name suggests, the ancient art of these performers began with traveling acrobats who performed along the famous Silk Road, the most well-known trading route of ancient Chinese civilization. The 7000-mile route spanned China, Central Asia, Northern India, and the Parthian and Roman Empires, connected the Yellow River Valley to the Mediterranean Sea, and passed through present-day countries Iran, Iraq and Syria. In the late Ming Dynasty and the early Qing Dynasty, acrobatics was introduced abroad and was highly appreciated by the Americans and the Europeans.

Chinese acrobatics demands years of dedication and rigorous practice, sometimes with aspiring youngsters beginning their training as early as four or five years old. Sonny Soohoo, the creative director of the Silk Road Acrobats, began his career at the age of 12 and was trained by the famous Jiang Yanjing of the Shenyang Acrobatics Troupe. In 2004, he began coordinating and directing talent for everything from theatre shows to corporate events and has since produced, directed, choreographed, and stage managed hundreds of shows. The performers range in age from Sonny, who is 32, down to Enkhmurun Sodnumpunsum, who, at 14, is the show’s Mongolian contortionist, and has performed over 1000 shows since beginning her career at age 6.

The Silk Road Acrobats show is a high energy, tinged with danger, action-packed extravaganza that has audiences of all ages at the edge of their seats, as China’s gifted tumblers juggle, cycle, contort and flip across the stage. Vignettes can include: Hoop Diving, Plate Spinning, Candelabra Contortion, Happy Chef, Hula Hoop Contortion, Straw Hat Juggling, Handkerchief Spinning, Pole Diving, Mongolian Contortion, and of course the famous Lion Dance. This fifty minute performance is recommended for the entire family.

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