Not just any circus in townOne of the most celebrated circus acts in the world has come to Korea to wow audiences with its extraordinary performances.
The Shanghai Circus is more than the familiar circus formula of walking on ropes and flying through the air from swing to swing. It is a show that combines traditional acrobatics with magic, comedy and advanced technology.
The acclaimed Shanghai Circus World Theater was formed in 1951 in Shanghai. The circus still runs daily at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Shanghai, and is one of the biggest attractions for foreign tourists visiting the port city. It is one of Chinese theater’s most commercially successful shows around the world.
Some of the performances are traditional circus fare; other material is more original.
One stunt has performers dangling from silk ropes without safety devices. These circus artists then act out choreographed motions while suspended 10 meters above the ground.
Another act involves eight motorcycles blasting around in circles inside a large steel ball. Even a trivial mistake in this act could result in a crash.
For the Grand Wheel act, two donut-shaped steel wheels spin in the air like windmills. Performers inside and on top of the wheel try to strike a balance while juggling sticks.
Passing Ring involves acrobats who jump through steel rings stacked vertically, one on top of the other. The stunt starts with one acrobat jumping through the rings; then the speed, and the number of acrobats and rings, gradually increases.
In Stacking Chairs, female performers pile chairs on top of one another to form a very precarious-looking tower. What adds drama is the fact that each chair has a female performer doing a handstand on it.
The show began yesterday and will continue through the Chuseok holidays, until Oct. 3. The venue is Seoul Olympic Gymnastics Hall in Jamsil, southeastern Seoul.
The two-hour show starts at 7:30 p.m. on weekdays, and 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays. It starts at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Sundays and holidays.
Ticket prices range from 20,000 won ($17) to 100,000 won. For ticket information, call 1544-1555 or visit the Shanghai Circus Web site, www.thecircus.co.kr.
by Limb Jae-un