Direct from Beijing, The National Circus and Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China is making its way to Walton Arts Center as part of the Family Fun Series. This distinguished troupe will perform two shows Friday, Dec. 11 and Saturday, Dec. 12 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $15 to $35 plus applicable fees and can be purchased by calling Walton Arts Center’s Box Office at 479.443.5600 or by visiting waltonartscenter.org

Founded in 1953, The National Circus and Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China is one of the longest running and most distinguished circus troupes in China. This troupe has won multiple awards for their unique and inventive acts like the Great Teeterboard, Grand Flying Trapeze, Group Contortion, Straw Hats Juggling, Girls’ Balance with Bowls and many others. Incorporating elements of traditional acrobatics, Chinese circus and Peking Opera, this flawless performance invites you into an artistic world full of history and wonder.

The contribution The National Circus and Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China has made to the world circus society is profound. During the 1980s, this troupe started to change the concept of “animal circus” to include a new style of “non-animal circus,” which influenced the then pioneers of Cirque du Soleil. This troupe has toured 80 countries around the world. In 1987, the troupe toured Western Europe for six months as the Great Chinese State Circus. The following year, a cast of 75 members toured Canada and Seattle for three months, which included a Giant Panda that traveled to North America and home in the first-class cabin of their plane (a feat that required removing all passenger seats from the planes). The troupe also performed in France as Cirque de Pekin in 1988 and 1989, three months each year, and was so ecstatically received, the French National Television and Radio Company broadcasted the performances for months after the French engagements were finalized.

In 1993 and 1994, the troupe toured to Germany and Switzerland under the direction of Mr. Andree Hiller, the world renowned Austrian Artistic Director who Produced the later famous “Africa! Africa!” in 2004. From 2004-2008, the troupe toured to the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Spain for six to ten months each year as the Great Chinese State Circus under the management of Mr. Henk van der Meijden, the famous European Impresario. The company’s Flying Trapeze troupe was invited to perform with the United States “Ringling” and “Barnum & Bailey Bros. Circus” Companies in 1999 and “UniverSoul Circus” in 2007. Additionally, the Company has performed in Europe again in 2008 for Swiss Knie Circus, Stuttgart Winter Circus and Amsterdam Winter Circus.