Jonathan NOBLE

The Kaifeng Acrobatic Troupe offers a dazzling display of coordination. PHOTO BY JOAN LEBOLD COHEN.

Chinese acrobatics, called “variety art” (zaji) in Chinese, is one of the most widely viewed types of Chinese cultural performance. The acrobatic acts seen today are packaged for global consumption and are similar to the Western circus, but many of the acts have traditional roots and a long history unique to China.

The precise origin of acrobatics (zaji) in China is unknown,

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