MERCED — A night of incredible acrobatic feats suitable for the entire family is coming Thursday night to Merced, as the New Shanghai Circus visits the Art Kamangar Center at the Merced Theatre.
The 2½-hour show will consist of mind-blowing feats, according to David Shaw, president of Artbeat Inc. (the non-profit putting on the event).
Attendees can expect to witness a variety of impressive and crowd-pleasing acrobatics, from contortion and foot juggling to performers balancing on a tight rope.
The New Shanghai Circus consists of twenty-five people, and emerges from a rich history. Chinese acrobats date back as early as 700 B.C. and tradition originates out of the Lunar New Year harvest celebrations, according to a press release.
During those celebrations, acrobats would use household items as a part of their performance. Their skills were passed down through generations, though the tradition was almost lost as China underwent a time of social and economic distress. Only a few descendants of the old acrobatic families are still around today, like the New Shanghai Circus, fighting to keep the tradition alive.
Initially founded as the Shanghai Acrobatic Theatre in 1951, the New Shanghai Circus has earned many accolades in its sixty-two years of existence. In 1999, it became the first Chinese acrobatic troupe to perform on Broadway, being named "Best Foreign Production on Broadway" that same year.
Since then, the circus has acquired it's own theater in Branson, Mo., where it has a year-round company in residence. It has also consistently ranked among the top five most popular shows in Branson.
When approached to book dates for the acrobatic troupe's tour, Shaw felt Merced was the perfect place to make a stop. "Given the newly renovated theater ... we thought it would be a great way to bring diversity to the theater and expose Merced to something wonderful for the whole family," he said.
New Shanghai Circus
WHEN: Thursday at 7 p.m.
301 W. Main St.
PRICE: $29 VIP, $22 adults, $10 ages 18 and under
CALL: (209) 381-0500