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Review: Cirque Chinois at the Palladium

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With amazing artistry, Cirque Chinois takes circus to another plane. Without animals or trapeze artists, the multi-talented troupe opened their Palladium show with pageantry reminiscent of The Lion King, as costumed characters enacted references to historic China. That stage business introduced fluid body stretching and human pyramid building by ten young girls who seem to be like fluids poured from here to there. A group of burly warriors with grunts and flying through the air tumbling, jumping and general airborne derring-do followed.

A complete change of pace came with the entrance of 12 ladies — clothed in sparkling gowns, huge head plumes and with foot-long finger extensions — executing stunning hand movements. Focusing on strength two men defied gravity as they created slow motion body sculptures, weaving in and out of each other’s limbs. Clowns mimed, a dozen girls appeared with spinning plates and further defied the Earth's natural forces by executing gymnastic moves, neither dropping plates nor each other in synchronized moves. There wasn't even a crash when they exited.

Then male tumblers and humans as dragons appeared, along with twirlers of rods, javelins, sabres, swords, in a show of up-personship. Act one closed with a girl balancing candleabres as she twisted and turned.

Act two featured jugglers, a solo child seemingly floating in space as she executed body moves blanced on one extended arm, a magician masking and unmasking his face in the blink of an eye, more gymnastics and acrobats with props and, finally, a clown with a unusual knife throwing act. It was all beautifully -costumed and -presented for family wonderment. We didn’t witness a sleeping child in the audience. We didn’t dare stop looking. Oct. 27 at The Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts

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