Golden Dragon Acrobats defy gravity in stunt show at Arts Center

features@islandpacket.comAugust 24, 2012 

A contortionist with Golden Dragons Acrobatics stands on her hands and holds up five tiered, mini-chandeliers made of tiny water glasses.

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  • Performances are at 8 p.m. Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 and 2 p.m. Sept. 2 at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, 14 Shelter Cove Lane, Hilton Head Island. Tickets are $40 for adults, $30 for children 15 and younger.

    Details: www.artshhi.com, 843-842-2787

Einstein could take a lesson from the Golden Dragon Acrobats.

Under the banner of family entertainment, this company of young Chinese artists test the laws of physics -- and the bounds of the body -- in a demonstration of gravity-defying stunts and skills that date back 27 centuries.

"I always love watching children turn to their parents at the end of a show and ask, 'How did they do that?'" said Angela Chang, co-founder and choreographer of the Golden Dragons. "It takes a lot of practice. Some of the artists spend six to 10 years working on an act."

Now in its 34th year on tour, the troupe has performed in more than 65 countries. This year's program will feature 16 artists performing more than 15 acts.

In the grand finale, an acrobat precariously piles six chairs, one on top of the other, to create a 30-foot tower. As he climbs from one level to the next, he performs feats of balance, culminating at the top of the tower with a one-handed handstand -- all without a safety net.

"At that height, the chairs are shaking," said Chang, who co-founded the Dragons with her husband, Danny. "You can see that the performer is really concentrating to keep his balance. The audience loves it."

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