Chinese Acrobats Thrill Visitors

DUBAI - The maiden performance of Chinese State Circus at the Dubai Festival Center grounds in Dubai on Thursday (January 15) held the spectators spellbound as the Chinese Shaolin Wushu warriors performed gravity defying stunts.

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Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Sat 17 Jan 2009, 2:09 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 1:37 AM

Phillip Gandey, producer of the circus, who also was the narrator for the evening, said the circus, which was originally performed in the ancient Chinese market place, is now a travelling troupe.

“We travel to various parts of the world. After performing in the United Kingdom, being here in Dubai is exciting. The response for the first show was good, and we are quite sure the crowds would trickle in the next few weeks,” said Gandey.

In an era of when technology is dictating the rules, watching the Shaolin monk’s balance their bodies on a set of spears was a nail-biting experience.

The show consists of a set of five to six acts, with traditional balancing acts, cyclists, hoop jumpers and other acrobats. But what steals the show is the performance by the Shaolin Wushu warriors.

According to Gandey, “The warrior monks are a special few, who study in the Shaolin monastery, and have been selected to perform the heart-wrenching stunts.

The monks study in the temple and their spiritual strength comes from the many years of practice. They follow a very strict diet and practice martial arts for many hours.”

“They start to practice at the age of seven and most of the performers here are in their late teens and early 20’s. Some of the artistes are young as 11 years old,” he added.

Among the stunts performed by the monks performed were breaking of steel rods on their unprotected heads, balancing of bodies on metal spears and whip cracking, and amazing sword-and-spear acts.

An eight-member group of acrobats balanced on two narrow beams and jumped from one beam to the next masterfully.

Along with the plate spinning trick, and bicycle acts, the most spectacular one was the performance on a balancing board.

Colourful lion dancers and skipping rope stunts were performed as the closing act.

The 90-minute spectacle kept the audiences at the edge of their seats.

Jerry Thompson, a spectator, said, “I haven’t seen anything like this before. I’ve heard of the State Circus but witnessing it first hand is unbelievable. I was stunned by the superhuman display of the stunts performed by the Shaolin monks.”

Seema Bhatia, another visitor, said, “I was just passing time in the Dubai Festival Centre, but when I saw that there was the circus in town I took my entire family for the show and it was worth both the time and the money.”

The circus was inaugurated by the Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China in Dubai, Gao Youzhen, and attended by officials from the Dubai Festival Centre.

The shows will take place daily until February 15 with the exception of Mondays. The show timings are 6pm and 9pm.

Tickets are available at Dh150, Dh100 and Dh50. Tickets are available online from or the Time Out Tickets Hotline 800 4669.

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