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Chinese acrobats swing onto Anderson’s stage

Binghamton University’s Anderson Center for the Arts was packed with more than 1,000 spectators last Monday who came to see dazzling acrobatic performances from The National Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China.

The National Acrobats kicked off their U.S. tour at BU. Their show featured many physical feats of balance, strength and skill.

Dressed in vibrantly colored costumes, the troupe’s members — including plate-spinners, jugglers and contortionists — put on displays of acrobatic prowess and also performed two comedic pieces.

Danny Curreri, a sophomore majoring in mathematics, said he was amazed by the show.

“I saw 12 ladies ride one bicycle and a 5-foot-3 guy jump through a hoop 10 feet and 6 inches in the air,” Curreri said. “It was definitely one of the greatest displays of human talent, strength and overall ability I’ve ever seen.”

The National Acrobats have been touring the world for decades, according to Gary Pedro, executive director of the Anderson Center.

“The National Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China was the first national performing arts troupe established by the government of the People’s Republic of China in 1950,” Pedro said. “The company has performed in more than 40 countries, and continues to tour extensively every year.”

Pedro, who is responsible for bringing acts to the Anderson Center, said the audience at the National Acrobats show consisted of about 25 percent students, and that the rest of the audience were faculty and local community members. He said he was pleased with the crowd’s reaction to the performance.

“There was a wonderful tension in the audience, because many of the feats performed required such precision and the crowd knew the inherent danger in performing them,” he said. “Audible gasps accompanied almost non-stop applause throughout the show.”

Brendan Perkinson, a freshman majoring in English who attended the show with his friends, had only good things to say about the spectacle.

“I was completely blown away,” Perkinson said. “Everyone was saying it was the best show we’ve seen in ages. We definitely got our full money’s worth.”

Terry Agbo, a freshman majoring in biology, became involved with the performance during one of the troupe’s comedic pieces. He was called onto the stage by a knife-thrower, and he had a bag placed on his head. The performers tricked him into thinking that knives were being thrown at him.

Despite the deception, Agbo was pleased with the show.

“I thought it was really, really awesome,” Agbo said. “What the acrobats were able to do was phenomenal. I thought it was a complete testament to the will and strength of the human body.”