Maui Arts & Entertainment

Shanghai Circus Returns to Maui

December 28, 2019, 3:00 PM HST
* Updated December 28, 1:13 PM
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New Shanghai Circus 2019. Photo courtesy: Maui Arts & Cultural Center.

The New Shanghai Circus will be returning to the Maui Arts and Cultural Center next month.

Deemed by many as a Maui favorite, the circus features fearless performers with boundless energy and amazing skills who bring new interpretations to traditional Chinese circus arts–some acts with thousands of years in the making.

These acts are staged with traditional Chinese props and themes, but in the spirit of the “new circus,” all of this is accomplished with 21st century flair: new and contemporary costumes, dramatic lighting, and magical stagecraft.

The rigorously-trained performers of the Shanghai Circus follow a 2,500-year old tradition of circus arts in China, developed from ancient rural village harvest celebrations. In the autumn, both peasants and craftsmen would join in the village square for a celebration of bountiful harvest.

Common people would show off their skills by performing fun and exciting feats of derring-do, using household tools and common items found around the farm and workshop. Climbing to the top of a tall stack of chairs, spinning plates on the end of a long bamboo stick, balancing small wooden benches on their head, juggling huge pottery jars, flipping bowls with their feet, climbing tall poles and long leather straps–these and most other traditional Chinese acrobatic acts were derived from the lifelong skills of the village peasants, river sailors and local craftsmen.

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As skills developed, the traditions passed from generation to generation to become the feats of strength, balance and grace that define the unique circus traditions of China.

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The circus will offer five performances at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center Castle Theatre from Jan. 17 to Jan. 19.

Tickets will be available for purchase to the general public on Jan. 2.

Click here for tickets.

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