The chair-balancing, plate-spinning and back-bending are simply fantastic. Plus, the organizers like to stop the music during the most stupefying stunts so audience members can hear themselves as they scream “Oh, my God!”

The New Shanghai Circus brings its colorful, heart-stopping act to Queens College’s Colden Auditorium on Saturday, March 23, at 3 p.m. Ticket prices run from $20 to $35, but QNS readers can get 30 percent discounts with the promo code “SPRING.” (The troupe has played in front of sold-out shows in Queens before, so organizers suggest that interested individuals buy tickets as soon as possible.)

Direct from China, the crew consists of acrobats, contortionists, dancers, gymnasts and jugglers who defy gravity with their agility, balance, grace and strength. Plus, they throw in a lot of illusion to exaggerate it all.

About 40 performers will do their things during Sunday’s brisk, two-hour show. Attendees can expect Bicycle Tricks, especially the one during which about 20 women ride the same vehicle. Plus, chances are high that they’ll see the Chair Stack, the Human Pyramid and Hip-Hop Hoops. Aerial Fish Ballet and Mercurial Roller Skating are also common tricks.

Many of the feats — and much of the music — are based on 2,000-year-old folk art traditions developed for Lunar New Year harvest celebrations in rural villages. Farmers passed down their tricks from generation to generation, and some families developed reputations for their circus skills.

Things changed in 1949, when China’s flexing communist government invested large sums of money into circus arts. Currently, there are dozens of professional troupes throughout the country, including the New Shanghai Circus, which was founded in 1951.

The Colden Auditorium, which can seat more than 2,000 people, is located at 153-49 Reeves Ave. in Flushing. It’s on the northern edge of Queens College’s campus. For the first time this season, motorists can reserve spots in a parking lot next to the arena.

The performance is co-sponsored by Arts On Stage NY, a nonprofit that uses live cultural events to educate youngsters and unite communities.

Images: New Shanghai Circus


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