When the Chinese acrobats come to Klamath Falls, I always go see them. But now I realize I haven’t seen anything at all! The acrobats on the Chinese extravaganzas make any of Olympic gymnasts look like novices. I am guessing it holds little prestige in the world of performance to travel to the U.S., as the troops I have seen appear poor and 3rd rate, relatively.
Of course with TV, one can do a lot. Their staging is stunning and very complex, as is the camera work. I am watching one of the most exquisite avlokitshvara (sp (do I have the right god?)) performances possible. The many-armed deity, realized by a line up of twenty or more dancers, with only the front person fully visible. The coordinated arm movements are much more complex and beautiful than any I have seen, even on youtube.
Modesty prevails in the performers, dancers, singers…all. They are very expressive with their costumes. A few seem to fancy stunning simplicity, but most like frou frou. Some emphasize ethnicity, while others glitter in the lights, and there are those, quite a few, who, to my Western eye, appear ridiculously garish. But no matter the attire, there are no lewd body gestures nor revealing or even suggestive clothing. With singers, for example, emphasis is put on the voice, and it is that quality that is showcased. And, of course, his or her outfits. There is a lot of old fashioned glamour, and a lot of airline stewardess smiling.
The filming and playback here is very sophisticated. Lots of razzle-dazzle, hi tech stage sets, freeze frames, slo mo replays, and graphic intervention to maintain interest. Keeping people entertained seems a great priority.
They also seem to be hooked on competitions. Be it Tibetan singing contest, or professionals vying to get the most votes for a particular charity, it is always about competition. One popular show pits people doing the strangest things: juggling a running chain saw, throwing it it as high as possible and catching it without cutting off a body part; or tossing back one’s head to open the gullet, then pouring an entire liter of liquid down without a moment’s pause and see who does it fastest. Or popping the caps off of the most bottles of beer, in a given amount of time, using the spokes of a mountain bike’s front wheel as the opener mechanism. OMG! it is the Guinness Book of Records show/competition. Ha! Well, no wonder it is in both English and Chinese.
The final observations for this post, is that they are really into cute. Also flying martial arts women. And when they do have dramas, they go on FOREVER.