Performance of the New Shanghai Circus contorts reality

David Gutman

The New Shanghai Circus performed their grand show to a packed audience of all ages. When people usually think about the circus they think of candy, exotic elephants, and dubious carnival rides. The circus that performed last Saturday in the McKinney Theater, was definitely not that.

With bright, extravagant outfits, and training amounting to years of dedication to the art, the New Shanghai Circus dazzles.

The audience sat quietly in their seats. When the house lights dimmed, all eyes were drawn to the bright colors that swarmed the stage. The first act was a Chinese dragon puppet suspended on wooden poles carried by the puppeteers.

The audience was in shock and awe at the action on stage, as contortionists bent their bodies into unbelievable positions. The flexibility and strength of the performers was so immense that it seemed almost super human, so much that when the contortionists climbed up one another to do a handstand on each other’s shoulders without losing balance.

In one handstand act, the male performer balanced on two poles while managing to maneuver into seemingly weightless postures. He especially knew how to control an audience as he would slowly transition into new positions, then pause and pose, waiting for the audience’s reaction. His strength and control of each movement could be seen as his exposed upper body and back muscles moved and tensed under his skin.

Another notable act was two women performing barrel contortions. The audience sat in disbelief as the two women wriggled their half-folded bodies through barrels the size of a small trashcan.

During the performance one could feel the tension throughout the audience. The performers had the audience in the palm of their hands from one stupendous routine to the next. The only recognizable errors translated to one dropped ball or a slight slip of the foot.

The New Shanghai Circus was a sight to behold. So the next time the circus is in town, be sure not to miss it.