Enter the year of the Dragon, 2012. What better way to celebrate than with Chi-town's favorite Chinese circus, Cirque Shanghai. ChiIL Mama caught opening night, and the whole family had a blast. We welcome this circus' annual summer residency at Navy Pier and eagerly anticipate it.
For the price and the frequency of shows, Cirque Shanghai is hard to beat. They play Navy Pier all summer, making this an easy, entertaining option for visiting friends and relatives.
Thursday at 2 and 8 p.m.
Friday at 2, 7 and 9 p.m.
Saturday at 2, 6 and 8 p.m.
There will be additional performances Tuesday, July 3 at 2 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 2 at 8 p.m. and Monday, Sept. 3 (Labor Day) at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Tickets are $15.50 - $29.50 and are available by calling 800-745-3000 or visiting Ticket Master here. Discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more are available by calling GroupTix at 773.327.3778 or visiting GroupTixs website here.
and we've NEVER seen someone unicycle on a parasol,
fit so many girls on one bike,
or flip so many simultaneous pots on their head from a rolla bolla board!
The new horizontal configuration of the hoop diving was sweet, too.
The motorcycle wire tricks are gone this year, but the Globe of Doom with 5 bikers in a metal globe is always breathtakingly impressive, even though we've seen it in past years with Cirque Shanghai and with Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus.
We've seen it at Ringling Brothers, but the metal Wheel of Destiny was a new addition for Cirque Shanghai, and provided quite a few gasps, as a blindfolded/hooded performer nearly plunged to the stage below.
He nearly bit it again during the jump rope routine,
which I first thought was intentional, to mess with the audience and freak us out. On further discussion we agreed that maybe his blonde partner (who had less taxing tricks) was walking a bit too fast and threw off his timing. Thankfully he hung in there!
My kids adore circus arts and have become quite the critics after seeing world class acts from Cirque du Soleil's Ovo and Quidam, Ringling Brothers, Cirque Eloize, Zoppe Family Circus, George Orange, New York's Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, and local favs El Circo Cheapo, Aloft, Midnight Circus, The Actor's Gymnasium and more! Our kids are also taking circus arts classes from local gem, CircEsteem, where they're learning juggling, unicycle, silks, trapeze, lyra, pyramids, Spanish Web, Chinese Pole, acro, and more. They've auditioned for and been invited onto the pre-team and hone their circus skills 3 times a week. So, they're harder to impress than the average 9 & 11 year old off the street.
When the kids saw Cirque Shanghai's 7 ball bounce juggling act, they rightfully noted, "That was pretty cool, and he did juggle up stairs which was impressive, but our friend Will can do 7 ball bounce juggling and he's still in high school, and we just saw it in our own spring CircEsteem show. They did envy and want a pair of his cool, juggling pocket pants, though!
They were likewise nonplussed by the silks and lyra, diablo, and even the contortion and acro acts. Those elicited a series of "My friends and/or I can do that....and that....and most of that act too," from the kids. Though admittedly their friends are way more flexible and adept at circus arts than the average bear. As long as they don't want to master the Wheel of Destiny or Globe of Death next....!!
Nonetheless, they thoroughly enjoyed the show and thought that kids of all ages and adults would dig it, whether they're well schooled in circus arts themselves, are avid fans, or have never seen anything like it. In addition to the super stars in Globe of Death,
and Wheel of Destiny,
the slackwire unicycle,
creative foot juggling,
and chair stacking acts were particularly fun.
Both kids were entranced with the 5 bikers, simultaneously circling the metal globe and Sagezilla, in particular, loved that one was a long haired girl!
Sage's more interested in being strong than cute. She's all about grrrl power and nontraditional roles, and she was elated that the biker girl gave her a high five on the way up the aisle at the close of the show.
About Navy Pier: