Yin and Yang

To appreciate just how clever our Chinese neighbors are, you'd have to look beyond the cheap imports and knock-offs they ship by the container load to the dollar stores. More than 2,000 years ago, when Western civilization was just a glimmer in some Greco-Roman's eye, the Chinese were dreaming up fireworks, paper, printing, compasses, spaghetti...and acrobats. The circus was started by restless farmers during winter months—juggling, stacking and whirling anything that wasn't nailed down—plates, poles, chairs, animals, children. It became a family affair: Children started learning their craft from parents before they were even school-aged. During the Han Dynasty (when Nero was busy burning Rome), acrobats performed "Hundred Plays" for the public, later adding music, elaborate costumes, wushu and dance as they caught the eye of the emperors. By the 1800s, acrobats were the Michael Jordans, Plácido Domingos and Mikhail Baryshnikovs of Chinese society. Trained acrobats are thought to exemplify the heart of Chinese Chi Kung philosophy, the nation's love of precision, hard work and cultural tradition. This Saturday, see China's leading troupe, The Golden Dragon Acrobats from Cangzhou in the Hebei province, perform as part of their 28-year nonstop tour of the U.S. and 65 countries on five continents. They probably have a pretty stunning, not-to-be-missed act together by now, right? Performances are 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Bass Performance Hall, Fourth and Calhoun streets in Fort Worth.. Tickets are $7.50 to $15. Call 1-877-212-4280 or visit basshall.com.
Sat., July 15, 2 & 7 p.m.
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Danna Berger