Chinese Circusby: Patrick && Sue

Circuses are often seen as a mediocre form of entertainment. While in some places in the world that is the case, but in China it is the opposite. Chinese circuses are used to preserve ancient Chinese culture through martial arts, lion dancing, acrobatics and plate spinning, as well as the Chinese theater. The art of Kung-Fu may seem to be only a part of Jackie Chan and Jet Lee movies, but it actually very impotant to Chinese people



Martial Arts

Martial Arts are often over exaggerated in movies and cartoons. But the real performing martial arts are done on the stage. The Shaolin famous in China for fit perfectly in to the Chinese Circus. It has many high flips, kicks, and fast punches. The form was used to train soldiers for Emperor K’ang. With up to fifty people on stage, groups of Chinese performers could do all types of stunts from flips and jumps off human ladders, to hoping through rotating rings. Without Chinese Circuses only cartoon martial arts would remain. That would be a disgrace to a culture; a stain on China’s cultural tapestry. The Chinese are famous for outstanding and exciting performances based from the Shaolin Style.

Lion Dancing

Lion Dancing
Lion Dancing
Dancing is a very important part of ancient culture. The most unique form of dancing is lion dancing. Teams of two to five men would dress up as a giant lion and perform stories and dances; all the viewers could see were their legs acting as the lion’s legs. Chinese Lions would travel from village to village to entertain people and tell stories. The earliest recording of lion dancing dates back over 1000 years ago Modern Chinese Circuses are keeping this tradition alive by incorporating lion dancing into their acts. Many times circuses have updated Lion dancing by having the performers do stunts such as standing on one leg and walking on stilts!





Plate Balancing

Plate Spinning
Plate Spinning

A balancing act is a main part of any circus. Plate Spinning involves balancing plates on long wooden poles while performing acrobatic fetes. Performers would spin up to six plates in each hand while doing summersaults and flips. Up to twenty performers can perform together. Many time people to stunts together including balancing on a partner’s head while spinning plates and spinning. By updating these Chinese Acts, Chinese Circuses can entertain audiences and educate them about Chinese traditions.







Acrobatics
Two Acrobatic Performers
Two Acrobatic Performers
In America the main act of circus would be the magnificent tight rope walkers, or maybe people walking on long, tall stilts. However in China, one of the main performances shown in the circus are the acrobatics. Not only is this act entertaining, it is one of the many performances that help persevere Chinese history. Many people who watch the acrobatics act find that it is graceful as well harmonious, and not shameful and weird like many people who watch an American Circus act.





Chinese Theater
Grauman's Chinese Theater
Grauman's Chinese Theater
American Theater today like Broadway show an entertaining plot line as well as many interesting characters, but show a historical background setting, like many of the Chinese theater shows. Like how in the "Sound of Music", it shows the Von Trapp family everyday life during the Holocaust, sure the romances, and friendships that have occurred in the movie may not be true, but the historical background that is shown of the Holocaust is very much true. Also, like Broadway shows, where music and dancing are the driven force that move the plot line
A scene from a performance
A scene from a performance
ahead, as well as the acting, Chinese Theater uses music as well as many interesting acrobatic moves. In the Chinese theater, they sing and use the art of acrobatics to express what is going on in the story, just like how Broadway sing and dance to move the story forward. Even though they way of expressing the story isn't quite the same, they do have there many differences and similarities.















Work Cited:
ChinaStyle. "Chinese Acrobatics." China Style. 2 Mar. 2009 <http://library.thinkquest.org/05aug/01780/perfoming-arts/acrobatics/index.htm>.
Chinese Acrobats – Plate Spinning. Youtube.com. 2009. 5 Mar. 2009
http://www.youtube,com/watch?v=okvq7gSRw9E.
Chinese Acrobatics. (Online Image) http://caswell.blogspot.com/china/images/22_10_2003_MDF97958.jpg. March 25. 2009
“Chinese Lion.” Chinese Historical and Cultural Project. 2002. 05 Mar. 2009
http://www.chcp.org/lion.html.
Chinese Theater. (Online Image) http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/33/74833-004-5C00FA70.jpg. March 25. 2009
Graumans Chinese Theater. (Online Image) http://www.preservation.lacity.org/files/images/HCM-55-Grauman%27s-Chinese-Theater-(2).jpg. March 25. 2009
Lion Dancing. (Online Image) http://anapensativa.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/lion-dance2.jpg. March 25. 2009

Plate Spinning. (Online Image) www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/%7Ejkk/photos/plates. March 25, 2009
“Shaolin Temples – History & Tradition.” 2008. 05 Mar. 2009
http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo?Pagoda/6968/temple.htm.
Thinkquest. "Acrobatics." Destiny The Culture of China. 1998. 2 Mar. 2009 <http://library.thinkquest.org/20443/g_acrobatics.html>.
The Chinese Acrobats (Online Video) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gz4LKiJZsdY. March 25. 25