Preview: Chinese Dragon Acrobats

By: Anne Vickman

Remember when you were five years old and still mostly made of cartilage? Yeah, we can’t, either. Luckily we have the Golden Dragon Acrobats to remind us of how bendy humans can actually be. This troupe of 25 Chinese performers has been trained in tumbling, juggling, and other acrobatic skills since childhood, mastering feats of flexibility and balance that make our solid-boned, inflexible jaws drop to the ground. And they’re coming back to Boston’s Symphony Hall for a third season this Sunday, January 30.

Think brightly colored costumes, Cirque-du-Soleil-style execution, and überlean entertainers who make it look oh-so-easy. That’s what happens with practice — and practice they do, every single day for at least one or two hours. (During a performance run, the group endures three to four months of intense rehearsal and spends a full four hours warming up before each show.)

In addition to signature stunts such as plate-spinning, this year’s performance will unveil some new spectacles, including acrobatic ballet, teeterboard balancing (a teeterboard is basically a playground seesaw), and a mix of traditional and modern Diablo — which involves tossing a vase-shaped object, the diablo, around on a jump rope–type string.

Jessie Chang, the production company’s administrative director and granddaughter of the troupe’s founder, admits that the execution of such gravity-defying moves can be difficult. “The most challenging part for the acrobats is probably the changing of environment,” she says. “This is a tour performance, so almost every show is on a different stage. Some are big, while others are extremely small. Performers have to adjust themselves to adapt to the limitations of different stages and still deliver a good show.”

The show begins at 3 p.m. Tickets are $47–$60, available by phone at 617-482-6661; from the Symphony Hall box office; or online at

Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, 617-266-2378,