I walked into Mitrani really not knowing what to expect. I’ll be honest: I was downright confused as to what I was going to see. Once the doors to the house opened and an usher handed me a program, I immediately fumbled through it, looking for some kind of clue as to what was going to happen.
I was again confused.
It looked like I would be sitting through a legitimate circus for the next two hours. Yes, group contortion and teeterboard was on there as I mentioned in my preview, but there were also plates spinning and something called clown transition. It was just bizarre to me.
Once the curtains came up and the show started, there was no energy on stage; it was merely a large group of people on stage dancing. Some of them looked bored.
And then everything changed when the adrenaline hit me.
They immediately transitioned into the group contortion first. A group of about eight young women came onto the stage creating intricate shapes as one single unit; many of those shapes involving everyone on top of each other with many of their legs and arms shaking in an effort to hold each other up.
These strenuous feats go on for much of the show. The first half was a lot of acrobatics and gymnastics, complimented with dancing. Dancing was always present in every act. It helped a lot to give the audience moments to exhale after death defying stunts.
One moment in particular was during an act where the performers dove through rings. It began as easy jumps probably 2 feet above the ground with a nifty back flip here and a somersault there. But then the performers began bringing out more rings and with a snap they were attached to the top of the existing tower of rings. In the end, the tower was well over 6 feet high. It left me wondering how on earth someone could actually get through a hoop that high. The room got silent; the music that was playing suddenly felt so far away as all I could hear was my heart racing. A man sprinted full force across the stage to prepare for his jump. Somehow he flung himself into the air and got through the hoop perfectly, landing on both feet none the less.
The second half was much more circus-like with magic, juggling, and a grand bicycle act. All the while, the acts were more artistic and unique rather than any old circus performance. This was in part due to the fascination the American audience had with the Eastern culture on stage. The Chinese culture was always present through costumes, music, and props. The Chinese elements were some that engaged the audience the most. At one point, two dragons waddled around and sat at each side of the stage, heads pointing inward directing the audience to the real attraction. As they did their funny walk I could swear the whole room awed; those dragons were absolutely adorable.
Cirque Chinois was not only an artistic show, but also an engaging one. They kept the audience entertained for the full two hours when it only felt like half that time. It was a spectacle unlike any I have ever seen. If they ever do come back to this side of the States, I will be sure to get my ticket.