The Beijing Acrobatic show is a myriad display of superhuman skills, extraordinary balance, flexibility and agility laced with nerves of steel. Emerging from the traditional “Chinese Variety Arts” and morphing over time from one ruling dynasty to another, the Beijing Acrobatic Show is a standing example of the limitless potential of the human body. How you can achieve the unimaginable purely based on focus and years and years of practice, perseverance, and dedication.
The Chinese Performing arts gained high standard and popularity more than 2000 years ago as evidenced by historians and the present level of gravity defying stunts only prove the authenticity of Darwin’s theory of evolution 🙂 .
After spending the bulk of the day hiking the Great Wall, we were really tired and reluctant to go for the evening show and preferred to snug in our comfy bed instead. Pity our ignorance, but sometimes destiny is just too adamant and in spite of all the apprehensions we ended up at the Beijing Acrobatic show right on time. Performed twice a day at the prestigious Chaoyang theater located in the central business district, this is one of the most popular evening entertainment shows in Beijing.
Our experience at the Beijing Acrobatic Show
Creeping our way past hundreds of tourist we finally found our spot inside. The theater is generally packed to capacity and we were no exception. Until now we were not expecting anything remarkably different from what we have already seen before. First was the joker’s entry. The joker with his props and antics soon created a euphoria among the kids. Throwing colorful heart-shaped balloons to the crowd he quickly became their favorite character. We saw a few crying too on not getting their fair share of the balloons. For us, we were still waiting for the magic to start. And then it happened.
The lights dimmed and the acrobats in colorful costumes took center stage. The show started on a milder note with acts like the Lion Dance, Rope cycling, Plate spinning, Ball juggling and gradually cascaded towards the extreme. Each act was performed against a different digital background adding to the overall mood.
The acrobats performed numerous stunning acts during the next one hour. The Corde Lisse or simply acrobatics on a vertically hanging rope and Pole juggling made us skip our breath more than once. Every knot, held, flip, dive, and roll was a feat of courage, daring and perfection. Every time an acrobat let go of the pole, free falling face first towards the ground, there was a moment of pin-drop silence from the crowd followed by a thunderous applause as he stopped just inches short of hitting the floor with a big smile on his face.
Then came the fire acts, the inhuman flexibility and contortions of three acrobats balancing on top of each other with plate spinning, somersaulting incredible heights through a pile of four wooden hoops stacked on top of each other, Diablo play swinging the spinning diablos through a piece of string, catching them in the air while making them sing and off course the Pagoda of bowls.
There was an interval of about 10 minutes midway through the show. The joker reentered with his props and balloons to captivate the children again. As the show progressed each act climbed a notch higher than the previous one. The crowd was getting more and more excited. People started pulling out their mobile phones and cameras for pictures and we saw few camera flashes going off. The security staff immediately scrambled to prevent the flashes. The acrobats perform with razor sharp accuracy on thin wires and ropes. The smallest distraction from a single camera flash can cause a major disaster. It was little annoying to see people trying to click pictures despite prior warnings. Thankfully nothing untoward happened and we had a very happy ending.
How to get there
The best way to get there is to take the subway. The nearest station is Hujialou on line 10. Take exit C and you will see the theater building upon exit.
Taxis are also inexpensive if you are in the downtown area. But beware of language barriers. It might be really difficult to explain your destination to the cab driver if you don’t have it written in Mandarin. You can ask your hotel concierge to write it for you.
Most of the Beijing day tours have the Chaoyang theater in their evening itinerary. If you book a one day or two-day tour with the Beijing Acrobatic Show included, the same company should arrange for transportation to and from your accommodation and tickets. We used this option. But Metros are more fun 🙂 .
Chaoyang theater seating arrangement
The seating arrangement is “pay more to get a better view” type. We found it little annoying. The mid-central rows are designated as VIP zones and the side rows are reserved for groups. We got side row seats but thankfully the view was good. There’re discounts online from tour companies on the display price but honestly, it looked more like a marketing gimmick. However, the show was worth every penny we paid and we won’t mind visiting a second time 🙂 .
Why you should not miss the Beijing Acrobatic Show
Power packed with grit, determination and a sheer ambition to defy the laws of Physics, the Beijing Acrobatic Show is the zenith of human ability and imagination. A notch above perfection, we prefer to call it an hour of absolute inspiration rather than just a show. Every act has a poetic charm to it flowing with energy and vigor. Years and years of practice can only bring out the level of expertise and perfection you will see here and something to leave you awe inspired for a long time to come. If you are in Beijing, missing the Beijing Acrobatic Show is not an option.
Do let us know your experience on the same.
Signing off for now 🙂
DISCLAIMER: Most of the pictures used in this post are taken from google images. Photography is strictly prohibited inside the theater during shows for the safety of acrobats and we obliged by the rules 🙂