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Four Chinese acrobats perform different stunts for community members at the Bowling Green Middle School


Group of Chinese acrobats perform the yo-yo act during the performance on Saturday night.

On Dec. 6, the Bowling Green community, faculty and staff came together to view a performance never experienced before in Bowling Green, the Chinese Acrobats.

Sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the program was held at Bowling Green Middle School at 7 p.m.

Krishna Han-Frey, assistant director for Diversity Education Programs, was the coordinator of the event.

He said he held the event at Bowling Green Middle School to bring students, faculty and the community together in one common space.

“A lot of people asked, ‘Krishna, why didn’t you have this event on campus?’” Han-Frey said. “I held it at Bowling Green Middle School because I wanted to bring people together, the entire community and not just the one surrounding campus, so people could say they had something in common.”

Chinese acrobatics is a 20 centuries old art form of expression that reflects the history of the Chinese culture. It can often be dangerous and challenging due to the physical limits that a performer is pushed to. Special and rigorous training is in order before anyone is cleared to perform.

The show, which consisted of 10 different acts, featured an MC and four Chinese acrobat artists. There were three girls and a boy. The youngest was 17 while the oldest was 19.

Adorned in colorful two-piece outfits, the acrobat artists performed several tricks. The very first featured one of the girls standing on one hand while atop several building blocks varying in height. Another consisted of a different girl balancing a candle on her forehead and in her mouth. Carefully and cautiously, she lit one candle single-handedly using the other. Another woman rode a unicycle while balancing and flipping dishes and spoons onto her head with one leg.

The audience participation segment featured the male acrobat artist teaching six audience members how to flip a straw fedora hat onto their heads and asking audience members if they knew how to speak Chinese.

The most dangerous performance of the night came when the contortionist performed. Contortion is the most popular movement in Chinese acrobatics. The girl appeared on-stage and sat on a rug. She performed various moves that twisted her body in different shapes and she also ended up balancing a crystal chandelier set on both of her feet, head and stomach simultaneously.

Han-Frey said he brought the show in the first place because he wanted to showcase a different type of diversity.

“The Cultural Exchange Students Across America program contacted us and asked did we want them to perform,” Han-Frey said. “I said we had no money in the budget to do so, but I said, I’ll book you guys and make it work. We ended up receiving an ECAP rant from the Ethnic Student Center and they sponsored us along with OMA.”

Han-Frey said that it’s important to OMA that they carry out their mission of diversity to help educate students, faculty and the Bowling Green community.

“It’s very important that we enrich our community with something internationally; reflect international culture,” Han-Frey said. “Diversity is beyond domestics, and we want to reflect not just international and Chinese culture, but also the culture of underrepresented students. OMA strives to create a welcoming environment.”

The audience reactions were positive and well-received.

Anna Pozniak was excited about the various moves that were performed.

“I loved the show,” said Jim Zychowicz, her father. “I was mesmerized.”

Han-Frey said that utilizing the uniqueness of Chinese culture helps to promote diversity and inclusion, both of which intersect with the Ethnic Student Center and the Office of Multicultural Affairs mission.

“Chinese acrobatics is so different than Western acrobatics,” Han-Frey said. “Chinese acrobatics is unique and challenges Western stereotypes. OMA strives to give a diverse, global perspective in addition to an academic perspective, which is why we brought the acrobats.”

Sue Zwayer, a faculty member in OMA and Access, Diversity and Inclusion said the show was particularly interesting because of the body control.

“Their body control was great, so precise,” Zwayer said. “It’s a very cool art form.”

Han-Frey said that the goal was to educate and entertain.

“In addition to retention and education, we just wanted people to enjoy,” Han-Frey said.

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