The Venn diagram crossover between theatre performers and acrobats is likely a small one. While many actors defy death in a figurative sense, there aren’t many that can say they dodge the Reaper on a regular basis in front of a live audience.
So, with Hebei Acrobatic Troupe currently performing on the GCTC stage, Ottawa theatre-goers have a rare opportunity to see something a little different. This is not your typical group of circus tumblers. By all reports, these guys are a bit more intense than that.
This troupe has performed all over the world. Hailing out of Hebei Province in China, which is the spiritual home of Chinese acrobatics, they are in town courtesy of the Music and Beyond festival. The festival features over 70 shows (music and beyond), and while festival passes are still on sale, this coming weekend wraps the festival.
Thus far, the festival has been a success. Festival Director Julian Armour’s programming has been varied and compelling. With acts like the Ottawa Wind Ensemble (playing for free tonight at uOttawa’s Tabaret Hall), pianist Jan Lisiecki (at Dominion-Chalmers on Friday), and so many more, the festival pass looks quite appealing at $180. Its timing during Bluesfest may also appeal to folks who really would rather not go to Bluesfest at all.
But what’s most compelling about the festival is its ability to attract acts like this, performers Ottawa would otherwise have little chance of seeing. We are, as always, blessed with a deluge of culture in summer. We must choose wisely, and for many that means seeing the unusual, the spectacular, and the breathtaking. Hebei Acrobatic Troupe promises to be all of those things.
The GCTC’s Irving Greenberg stage will be a place of flipping, tumbling, spinning, and otherwise moving improbably until Sunday night. The troupe has been selling out their weekend shows, so it may be a good idea to get tickets soon.
And if you’re in the mood to watch some more outlandishly complex human performances, make sure to check out the rest of Music and Beyond’s offerings, as well as the GCTC’s Fall Season.