MOM THEATRE BLOGGER: Cirque Ziva: Family Show Review by Robin Gorman Newman
New York’s premier theater for kids and families recently presented CIRQUE ZÍVA at The New Victory Theater in NYC. My son and I had the opportunity to check it out during school break, and it was really impressive and a stunning spectacle.
From Hebei Province, China, the Drama Desk-nominated Golden Dragon Acrobats (New Vic 2005) represent the best of Chinese circus featuring ensemble performances like acrobatic hoop diving and the whizzing diabolo and awe-inspiring solo acts of unparalleled precision. An acrobat of incomparable strength winked at balcony patrons as his chair stack teeters over 30 feet high. A gifted contortionist balanced over 60 wine glasses while her body bent impossibly backwards.
The newest show from producer and artistic director Danny Chang, CIRQUE ZÍVA is a fast-paced, technically innovative celebration of an art form steeped in 2,000 years of tradition. The large cast and spectacular set design illustrate Chang’s signature artistry, high production values and solid commitment to cultural exchange. Since 1985, the Golden Dragon Acrobats remain the only Chinese acrobatic company touring year-round in the United States, presenting over 200 performances at hundreds of venues across the country each year. Its members are athletes, actors and artists who have studied and trained in their craft from early childhood. In 2005, their Off-Broadway debut and seven-week run at The New Victory Theater earned two prestigious New York Drama Desk Awards nominations (Angela Chang for Best Choreography and Danny Chang for Most Unique Theatrical Experience).
Today, the Golden Dragon Acrobats are recognized as the preeminent Chinese acrobatic company in the U.S. Every year, Danny Chang and his wife and choreographer Angela Chang attend the world’s top acrobatic competitions to select elite performers to join the Golden Dragon Acrobats. The company works with the industry’s best, including CIRQUE ZÍVA lighting designer Tony Tucci, a two-time recipient of the B. Iden Payne Award and a Critics Table Award-winner for lighting. In recent years, members of the Golden Dragons have won the President’s Award at the International Acrobatic Competition and received awards at the Hebei Regional Acrobatic Competition, the China National Acrobatic Competition, the National Teen Acrobatic Competition, the Italian National Acrobatic Competition and the International Young Adult Acrobatic Competition in Japan.
The cast includes Mei Zhuo Cao, Kang Chen, Bing Bing Cui, Shen Tong Guo, Ya Nan Hou, Wen Cai Li, Yu Shun Liu, Yuan Yuan Pan, Hui Min Pang, Jia Hui Shen, De Long Sun, Wei Kang Wang, Ya Ru Wang, Zhi Yang, Hua Ye Yin, Meng Di Zhang, Ning Zhang, Tai Long Zhang, Xiao Zhang, Chen Ying Zhao and Hui Yuan Zhu.
The New Victory Theater introduces extraordinary performing artists from around the world to extraordinary audiences in New York City, bringing kids to the arts and arts to kids. Created in 1995 for young New Yorkers, their families and schoolmates, The New Victory Theater presents a diverse season of international companies at low ticket prices year after year. Through the theater’s award-winning education programs, The New Victory continues to provide access to schools and communities of New York City who seek to experience and engage with the work on our stages, often for the very first time. The Off-Broadway theater’s contributions to the cultural landscape of the city were celebrated by the prestigious New York critics’ organization, The Drama Desk, which presented The New Victory Theater with a Special Award for “providing enchanting, sophisticated children’s theater that appeals to the child in all of us, and for nurturing a love of theater in young people.” Visit http://www.newvictory.org.