DANCE REVIEW : More Oohs, Ahs From Acrobats

A program by the Peking Acrobats usually is accompanied by audience oohs and ahs and cycles of breath-catching as the acts become increasingly more risky and complex. The program Friday at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts proved no exception.

This time out, the familiar troupe brought few examples of contortion acts. Nobody squeezed through a hoop or a barrel narrower than his or her shoulders, as in visits past.

One young lady did balance trays of little glasses on the insteps of her feet, hands and also on a stick she held in her mouth, all the while rolling over on her torso.

At one point, she supported herself by biting a stand with her teeth and folding her whole body backward , accordion-like, over her head. Oh, yes, she was still balancing those glasses. Amazing.

There were more gymnastic events than on previous visits, with men hurtling themselves in every way possible through several stacked-up narrow hoops. Feet first, head and arms first, one leg first, you name it--through the hoops they leaped.

This time, not everything went perfectly, although no one was injured, as happened when a young slack-wire walker dislocated his shoulder in a fall to the floor during a 1987 show in Norwalk.

Some of the hoops were knocked over. Later, a trapeze artist failed several times in leaping from the floor to catch the bar.

No matter. The failures only emphasized the humanity of the artists.

Familiar acts--but no less breath-taking for that--included those in which one young woman slowly ascended a tall tower of benches all balanced on the feet of another woman, and a group of acrobats arching themselves upward on a series of nine chairs perched one above the other.

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