Skilled acrobats contort Geneseo stage

"Do not try this performance at home." These words blasted during a break in a contemporary Chinese music as an acrobat balanced on top of more than a dozen stacked chairs.

This feat was one of the many acrobatics achievements performed in the Golden Dragon Acrobat show Saturday in Wadsworth Auditorium.

The show featured various types of Chinese acrobatics themed with costumes, as well as contemporary and traditional Chinese music. Trained acrobats with years of experience twisted, balanced and defied the limits of the human body.

One such act was "Rolling Body Contortionist," in which the equilibrist contorted on a revolving platform as small pyramids of metal objects were added to her feet, head and hands. After balancing on one hand, the final pyramid was added and it was revealed that the objects were glasses filled with water and that none had spilt during the performance.

"Swaying Board Balancing," an act named for the performers balancing on a board placed over a rolling ball, was performed differently by each gender. The woman balanced silver spheres from a pipe in her mouth while climbing two ladders placed on either side, while the man used the board as a spring to toss bowls onto his head.

"It was something I've never seen before," said freshman Brian Tillman, speaking of the show's unique style.

Like traditional acrobats, the men displayed feats of agility and strength and the women conveyed gracefulness and flexibility. The show, however, catered to the modern American audience. In a display of their talents, the men jumped through hoops - "hoop diving" - and lifted each other onto a moving bike, while the women balanced and spun umbrellas, pots and tables with their toes.

Some of the other performances included more traditional acrobatic work fused with contemporary dance. In one such instance, a female acrobat was lifted onto the shoulders of her partner where she was able to relevé in her pointe shoes.

Another American-oriented performance featured an acrobat balancing a pole with various branches and a basketball hoop at the top. The performer bounced a ball from the bottom branch to each consecutive one before bouncing it into the basketball hoop. Sophomore Catherine D'Arcangelis said, "The basketball part showed skill and was clever."

A classic Chinese performance was the Chinese Diablo - a rope with handles used to spin a yo-yo-like piece of wood over the string and whistles. Unlike a yo-yo though, the wood can be flung off the string and passed to others. At the show, the Chinese Diablo was performed by a duo doing tricks that sophomore Pamela Tangel said were "extremely fast-paced and exciting."

The Golden Dragon Acrobats shows are choreographed by Angela Chang and produced by impresario Danny Chang. The troupe tours in multiple states and countries at various colleges and theatres across the globe. The performance in Wadsworth Auditorium was sponsored by Geneseo's Limelight & Accents, part of Activities Commission.