Golden Dragon Acrobats Entertain The Ordway


I love photographing vivid colors, movement and grace. I have wanted to shoot an acrobatic show for a long time because it brings all my favorite elements together. So I was overjoyed to be able to shoot the Golden Dragon Acrobats at the Ordway. First, I would be remiss to not mention what a beautiful venue the Ordway is. I have shot at both of their halls and the acoustics and sight lines are fantastic! If you have the opportunity to attend a show at the Ordway, you will not be disappointed.

On early Saturday afternoon on the way to the Ordway, I was surprised to find a number of streets closed in St. Paul around the Ordway. It turned out to be a pleasant surprise because the Flint Hills Family Festival (supported by the Ordway) was going on. There were bands and entertainment in Rice Park, which I planned to check out after the show was over. I have seen a few acrobatic shows over the years and am always amazed at the strength and body control of the performers. The Golden Dragon Acrobats are trained and choreographed by Danny Chang and Angela Chang. They combine award-winning acrobatics, traditional dance, spectacular costumes, ancient and contemporary music and theatrical techniques to present a show of breathtaking skill and spellbinding beauty.

The show started with female acrobats posing in various formations. The acrobats getting into position was as graceful and flowing as the final formation. Their strength and balance was incredible and the crowd applauded frequently.

The next segment featured male acrobats leaping through hoops of various sizes and heights. The acrobats would perform flips and tumbles on the way to the hoops and mid air somersaults. The final height of the hoop was around six feet, which two acrobats leaped and somersaulted through.

I wasn’t able to photograph the remainder of the show, but it was fantastic and I was amazed at some of the feats performed by the troupe. There was juggling of balls and hats performed by people in bright costumes and amazing ability. The highlight of the show was an acrobat that stacked chairs on an elevated structure, performing handstands and lifts as each chair was added. The height of the chairs approached the top of the stage opening, where the acrobat rocked the stack back and forth, then slanted the final chair at a 45 degree angle and did handstands on the angled chair. Finishing it off with a single armed handstand on the angled chair – an impressive display of his sheer strength and balance.

There were a number of other memorable moments including a bicycle rider that circled the stage picking up riders, that climbed on his shoulders, on the handlebars and other parts of the bike. There were so many great moments my hands were stinging from all the applause. It was a great show followed by hours of additional entertainment in Rice Park, where some of the acrobats performed on a stage outside the Ordway. Be sure to see the Golden Dragon Acrobats next time they are in town, or a number of the other shows put on by the Ordway. They offer packages of shows and have a wide variety of entertainment during the year.