Golden Dragon Acrobats bring heart-stopping act back to Amp stage

Illustration by Maurice Dunn

Illustration by Maurice Dunn

Tradition never goes out of fashion, and the Golden Dragon Acrobats would agree.

The group has toured for more than 30 years, performing traditional Chinese acrobats spiced up with contemporary music, costumes and exciting acts. The Family Entertainment Series at Chautauqua Institution presents a slice of Chinese tradition with the Golden Dragon Acrobats at 7:30 p.m. tonight in the Amphitheater.

The Golden Dragon Acrobats, as the name suggests, is a group of artists in fiercely bright costumes, doing unimaginable things with their elastic-like bodies.

The group comprises 20 acrobats, whose ages — on average — range from 18 to 22.

“Our show includes a contemporary versus traditional performance of acrobatics,” said Jessie Liu, the acrobats’ administrative director. “The costumes and music are more modern and contemporary, while the performance introduces the traditional acts of Chinese acrobatics.”

The show includes overwhelming acts with hoops, juggling household items and the famed chair act.

“Our acts also have four girls as contortionists, boys jumping in and out of hoops and lots of balancing acts,” Liu said.

The acrobatic company is underpinned by a vibrant family history. The founder, Lien Chi Chang, established the company in 1967 with his family, including son, producer and director Danny Chang. With more than 17 years of apprenticeship under his father and several years of world tours, Chang stepped up as the head of the Golden Dragon Acrobats while his father went on to coach at the National Taiwan College of Performing Arts.

Presently, Chang manages the group with his his wife, Angela, the show’s choreographer. In 2005, they made their Broadway debut at the New Victory Theater to sold-out crowds, and they were nominated for two prestigious Drama Desk Awards. As the premier ambassadors of the centuries-old Chinese acrobatic tradition, they have toured all 50 states and more than 65 countries.

“Our show is a combination of grace and beauty,” Liu said. “It’s not a regular acrobatic show. There are dances, upbeat music, balancing acts and much more with a Chinese twist.”