China's Golden Dragons to glide onto Port Angeles stage Friday

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — In a celebration of the Chinese New Year — the Year of the Horse begins this Friday — the Juan de Fuca Foundation for the Arts will offer an unprecedented event: the 25-member Golden Dragons acrobatic troupe from China's Hebei Province.

The troupe, which has traveled to 11 nations including this one, also starts a concert-rich year laid out by the foundation, which started bringing performers from around the globe to Port Angeles some two decades ago.

At the Port Angeles High School Performing Arts Center, 304 E. Park Ave., on Friday night, the young Dragons, average age 18, will stage Cirque Ziva, a show that has acrobats frolicking with hoops, balancing cups and plates and sculpting their own bodies into extreme contortions.

There will be a local dragon, too: A big gold and white creation made by local artist Sarah Tucker for this event, will parade around the auditorium before the family-friendly show at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for children age 14 and younger and $15 to $35 for older teens and adults via www.JFFA.org and at Port Book and News, 104 E. First St., Port Angeles, and Pacific Mist Books, 121 W. Washington St., Sequim.

Golden Dragons choreographer Angela Chang outlined a few other elements of Cirque Ziva's 90 minutes: There's juggling with bowls and jars, a women's act featuring handstands, poles and glasses, the men's act with 10 guys leaping through hoops, and the rope dance.

“That looks like a cowboy-style act, but they add in the tumbling and jumping,” Chang said.

For the finale, “we have a bicycle family,” she added. For this last ride, 10 performers hop on a bike and execute a peacock-like display.

Friday's visit from the Golden Dragons is part of a season of concerts leading up to the 21st annual Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts, and the Juan de Fuca Foundation is offering one of the busiest schedules in years.

January had Canadian blues singer Matt Andersen in Port Angeles on Sunday, then Cirque Ziva on Friday.

Next are the Tannahill Weavers, inductees to the Scotland Traditional Music Hall of Fame, at Peninsula College on Friday,
Feb. 28.

The following Sunday, March 2, Ruth Moody, part of the Wailin' Jennys band known to listeners of “A Prairie Home Companion” on public radio, will arrive at the college.

The National Dance Company of Ireland will bring its show, “Rhythm of the Dance,” to Port Angeles High School Performing Arts Center on Sunday, March 23, and the Harlem Gospel Choir will sing at Port Angeles High on
April 4.

For the Juan de Fuca Festival, which takes place in and around downtown Port Angeles on May 22-26, “I tried to be more diverse this year,” said executive director Dan Maguire.

That's saying something, since the 2013 festival featured the Sierra Leone Refugee All-Stars from Africa and the LoCura Latin ensemble from San Francisco, among some 45 other acts.

Maguire has another full slate booked for the Memorial Day weekend festival, and has posted the list at JFFA.org.

A cross-section: Charles Neville, one of the Neville brothers, with his own band; B.B. King Entertainer of the Year Curtis Salgado; the Paperboys, led by Mexican-Canadian Tom Landa; the OKA band from Australia; a Latin octet called Milonga.

The dancers of Ballet Victoria will be coming over, too, as will two California bands, Dust Bowl Revival and the Highway Poets.

Maguire confessed, however, to being delighted about the concerts coming before the festival, especially Moody and the Harlem Gospel Choir.

There's the danger of these shows not making much money, he acknowledged, since they're close together and people's concert budgets may be strained. But if they break even and people have a good time, said Maguire, then the shows are worth doing.

Chang, for her part, spoke of the intangible rewards of live performance.

“Walking into the theater, watching a live show . . . is a human connection,” she said.

“Our show has no age limit . . . and I feel strongly about sharing the family time.”

In the theater and the concert hall, “we can know each other more.”

________

Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: January 27. 2014 7:52PM
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