WMU News

Miller presents National Acrobats of Taiwan

Feb. 15, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- The National Acrobats, generally considered the foremost company from all of China, will continue their dedication to promoting the Chinese acrobatic art around the world with one performance at Miller Auditorium on Friday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m.

Tickets prices range from $25 to $10 and can be purchased through the Miller Auditorium Ticket Office at 269 387-2300, toll-free 800 228-9858, or on the Web <www.millerauditorium.com>.

Since the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. to 240 A.D.), dramatic folk arts and variety shows have blended with the deepest roots of Chinese civilization. Honoring this long tradition, the National Acrobats of Taiwan's skilled performers often use objects of daily life, such as chairs, tables, poles, ladders, bowls, plates, bottles and jars as stage properties. Their perfect movements and flexible showmanship have provided entertainment and relaxation to people from all walks of life for decades. These masters of the acrobatic arts have studied to preserve this traditional art form, and to carry it on to future generations.

As graduates of the Fu Hsing Academy, which was founded in Taipei in 1957, the National Acrobats have toured the world. With stops throughout Europe, America and South East Asia, the group maintains a busy touring schedule. Consistently, through endless creativity and dedication, they have dramatized variety shows and choreographed acrobatics. The aim of the Acrobats is to make traditional folk acrobatic arts versatile and to open a new era of art in addition to continuing their performances of traditional acrobatics.

The curricula of the Fu Hsing Academy includes general subjects meeting the Ministry of Education's requirements and professional courses, which are divided into basic courses, vocational courses and special skills. In basic courses the students concentrate on basic skills and physical training. Vocational courses are divided so students may obtain specialized training for their particular roles and skills. In special skills, they are tutored by masters and given chances to perform on stage and bring their knowledge and skill together.

Every other year, entrance exams are given to ten and eleven year old children hoping to join the academy. The selected students must not only master different skills in different levels, but must also promote the exquisite traditional acrobatic arts through performance to continue the process of transmission from generation to generation.

The National Acrobats of Taiwan, R.O.C., is part of the Buster Bronco Family Series sponsored by Charter Media, Lake Michigan Mailers and WFAT 96.5 FM.

Media contact: Krista Iles, 269 387-2298, krista.iles@wmich.edu

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