Fearless performers set to wow audiences at the MACC

New Shanghai Circus hits Maui on Jan. 19

Photo courtesy Maui Arts & Cultural Center

Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului presents the return of a Maui favorite in an all new show: the New Shanghai Circus, onstage in Castle Theater Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Jan. 19 through 21.

Tickets went on sale yesterday, so bust a move if you’re interested in seeing this stunning display of acrobatics and traditional Chinese circus arts.

The New Shanghai Circus features fearless performers with boundless energy and amazing skills who bring new interpretations to traditional Chinese entertainment — some acts claiming thousands of years in the making.

The acrobats, jugglers, knife-throwers, contortionists and other skilled performers of the Shanghai Circus dedicate their lives to the achievement of perfection as they defy gravity and execute breathtaking feats of balance and skill.

These acts are staged with traditional Chinese props and themes, but in the spirit of the “new circus,” all of this is accomplished with 21st-century flair including new and contemporary costumes, dramatic lighting and magical stagecraft.

Photo courtesy Maui Arts & Cultural Center

The daring and rigorously trained performers follow a 2,500-year old tradition of circus arts in China, developed from ancient rural village harvest celebrations.

In the autumn, both peasants and craftsmen would join in the village square for a celebration of bountiful harvest.

Villagers would show off their skills by performing fun and exciting feats of derring-do, using household tools and common items found around the farm and workshop.

Some of the ambitious feats included climbing to the top of a tall stack of chairs, spinning plates on the end of a long bamboo stick, balancing small wooden benches on their heads, juggling huge pottery jars, flipping bowls with their feet, climbing tall poles and long leather straps.

These and most other traditional Chinese acrobatic acts were derived from the lifelong skills of the village peasants, river sailors and local craftsmen. As skills developed, the traditions passed from generation to generation to become the riveting feats of strength, balance and grace that define the unique circus traditions of China.

IF YOU GO: The 2019 New Shanghai Circus performs at 4 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19; 2 and 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20; and 2 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21. All shows take place in Castle Theater at the MACC. Food and beverage are available two hours prior to each show. Tickets are $12, $25, $35 and $55 for Gold Circle. Children ages 3 through 12 are half price when purchasing $25, $35 or $55 seats. For tickets and more information, visit the box office, call 242-7469 or go online at www.mauiarts.org.