Cirque Shanghai Extreme 2011 at Chicago's Navy Pier Offers Shock and Awe for All.

Cirque Shanghai Extreme 2011 at Chicago's Navy Pier Offers Shock and Awe for All.
Cirque Shanghai 2011 Barrel Controtion.

Chicago, Friday, July 8, 2011. One may wonder where are the elephants or ask to send in the clowns but once they have settled into their seats at Navy Pier’s 1,500 seat open-air, canopied Skyline Stage spectators are in for thrills and hopefully no spills as they witness the sixth summer of Cirque Shanghai which has become “Chicago’s Summer Circus”.

Unlike the traditional circus with clowns, a ringmaster, and a host of animal acts, the “Cirque” is a type of circus art relying mostly on two traditional circus disciplines: dance and acrobatics.

The current production, “Cirque Shanghai Extreme”, opened last night and will run, rain or shine, on Navy Pier’s Skyline stage through September 5, 2011 (Labor Day). This world premiere spectacular features a line-up of 16 beautifully choreographed acts by Chicago’s Brenda Didier, directed by China’s Miao Miao Chen and performed by the young and talented 27-member Yulin Troupe direct from China.

The acts run the gamut from tumbling, juggling and balancing to aerial stunts including two motorcycles on high wires that zoom above the audience where they present a lyra performance of spine-bending contortionist acts sans net.  China’s daredevil motorcycle troupe, “Imperial Thunder,” returns to the Pier this year with an even more amazing feat adding a fourth cycle to the iron-clad globe shaped cage that houses or entrap the riders–depending upon how you view it. Hold your breath as four motorcycles and their helmeted riders circle and dart past each other in a precision-like Blue Angels performance inside an amazingly small space.

The 75-minute, no intermission show, is a family friendly relatively inexpensive event–perfect to introduce small children to live entertainment.  Before the show you can purchase some circus type treats including cotton candy from vendors outside of the “big top”.

“Cirque Shanghai Extreme” performs Wednesdays at 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Thursdays at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Fridays at 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sundays at 12 p.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.  Individual tickets to “Cirque Shanghai Extreme” are $15 – $32.50 and can be purchased by calling 800-745-3000 or visiting Ticketmaster.   Discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more are available by calling GroupTix at 773.327.3778 or visiting For more information visit “Cirque Shanghai Extreme”.

Navy Pier is located on Lake Michigan, just east of Chicago’s downtown, 600 E. Grand Ave.  The Skyline Stage is located directly behind (east) of the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel.

Navy Pier is the most-visited tourist and leisure destination in the Midwest, welcoming more than 8 million visitors annually.  Originally opened in 1916 as a shipping and recreation facility, it is now one of the country’s preeminent recreation and exposition facilities, showcasing 50 acres of parks, gardens, restaurants, shops, attractions, sightseeing and dining cruise boats, exhibition facilities and more.

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