The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

March 3, 2010

Balancing act | Acrobatic troupe will perform gravity-defying feats at arts center



A Chinese acrobatic troupe will bring a balancing act of contortion, flexibility and control to the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center on the Pitt-Johnstown campus.

Peking Acrobats will perform gravity-defying feats at 7:30 p.m. March 17.

With this show and Le Grande Cirque, which appeared at the arts center last week, executive director Michael Bodolosky is seeking to bring a different sort of entertainment to Johnstown.

“The audience responded well to Le Grande Cirque, and so far sales have been good for Peking Acrobats,” Bodolosky said.

“It is something different for the arts center.”

Shows like these are part of Bodolosky’s decision to diversify the entertainment offered to the Johnstown audience.

“When you look at entertainment, there are so many different genres,” Bodolosky said.

“Compared to Le Grande Cirque, Peking Acrobats is similar but different, but also moving in that direction. It’s great family entertainment you don’t usually get to see in Johnstown.”

Peking Acrobats have been redefining audience perceptions of Chinese acrobatics since their Western debut in 1986.

They are masters at wire walking, trick cycling and precision tumbling, somersaulting and gymnastics as well as dexterous juggling and phenomenal balancing.

“They have unnatural levels of flexibility,” Bodolosky said.

The troupe is often accompanied by live musicians playing traditional Chinese instruments and high-tech special effects that blend with the music and acrobatics to create an entertainment event with the pageantry of a Chinese carnival.

At their groundbreaking debut at the Hollywood Bowl, the acrobats combined the traditional art form of Chinese acrobatics with the Western symphony orchestra for the first time.

Peking Acrobats have been featured on numerous television shows and specials, including Nickelodeon’s “Unfabulous” and “That’s Incredible”; ABC’s “Wide World of Sports”; NBC’s “Ring in the New Year” and “Late Show with David Letterman”; and “Good Morning America.”

They set a world record for the human chair stack on Fox’s “Guinness Book Primetime TV” when they balanced six people atop six chairs 21 feet in the air without safety lines.

Members of the troupe have appeared in the hit film “Ocean’s Eleven” as well as its two sequels, “Ocean’s Twelve” and “Ocean’s Thirteen.”

“What’s cool is they’re their own show, but look at their credits at the Hollywood Bowl and with hit films,” Bodolosky said.

“That’s the caliber of their entertainment. They might not be in the credits, but they’re right up there with them in talent.”

A Think Spring Sale will bring ticket prices down to $25 today and Friday.


What: Peking Acrobats.

When: 7:30 p.m. March 17.

Where: Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center on the Pitt- Johnstown campus in Richland Township.

Tickets: $25 for adults today and Friday. After Friday, $35 for adults, $33 discount and $10 for students.

Information: 269-7200 or (800) 846-2787.