unnamed (1)McAninch Arts Center (MAC), located at 425 Fawell Blvd. on the campus of College of DuPage, opens 2015 with the New Shanghai Circus, a highly entertaining evening of entertainment for the whole family Jan. 9 at 7:30 p.m. Nineteen astonishing athletes will defy gravity and execute breathtaking acrobatic feats as they stretch the limits of human ability in this spellbinding show featuring dramatic lighting, music and costumes. The performance will be preceded by a free MAC Chat at 6:30 p.m.

Founded in 1951 as the Shanghai Acrobatic Theatre, the New Shanghai Circus has won more gold, silver, and bronze medals in domestic and international circus competitions than any other Chinese acrobatic company. Producer Zhao Lizhi founded the New Shanghai Circus in 1998 to bring young performers skilled in the Chinese arts to the U.S., and in 1999, the New Shanghai Circus became the first Chinese acrobatic troupe to perform on Broadway. Today the New Shanghai Circus continues to present immensely talented artists skilled in acrobatics, circus acts, dance and performance art to create a fast paced, thrilling production for all ages. Though they tour nationally in the U.S. every year, the New Shanghai Circus has also had nine very successful years in Branson, Mo.

Ancient stone carvings, earthen pottery and early written work trace the Chinese acrobatic tradition of tumbling, balancing and juggling back to 700 B.C. These arts developed out of the Lunar New Year harvest celebrations, where the village’s peasants and craftsmen would hold an ostensible Chinese Thanksgiving. Acrobats would use household tools and common items found around the farm and workshop as part of their exciting feats. Performers passed their skills down from generation to generation and great acrobatic families of China entertained everyone from city rulers to village people, performing at ceremonial carnivals and public theaters across the country.

Over the years, as China experienced economic and social upheaval, many traditional arts were lost and acrobats found their art on the verge of extinction. Since the Chinese Cultural Revolution in 1949, the government has made great efforts to foster and develop traditional arts and culture in China, and acrobatics has enjoyed a new life. Today a few descendants of the old and famous acrobatics families remain. These individuals have organized China’s traditional entertainers into professional acrobatic troupes with formal academies for training young, promising entertainers and internationally renowned companies. At present, there are more than 120 professional acrobatic troupes across China, and more than 12,000 performers.

The New Shanghai Circus comes to Glen Ellyn’s McAninch Arts Center, located at 425 Fawell Blvd. on the campus of College of DuPage, Friday, Jan. 9 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $46 for adults/ $36 for youth. The performance will be preceded by a free MAC Chat at 6:30 p.m. Parking is free. For tickets or more information visit or call630.942.4000.

About the MAC
McAninch Arts Center (MAC) at College of DuPage is located 25 miles west of Chicago near I-88 and I-355, and houses three performance spaces: (the 780-seat proscenium Belushi Performance Hall, the 186-seat soft-thrust Playhouse Theatre, and the versatile black box Studio Theatre). It also encompasses the Cleve Carney Art Gallery, classrooms for the college’s academic programming and the Lakeside Pavilion. The MAC has presented theater, music, dance and visual art to more than 1.5 million people since its opening in 1986 and typically welcomes more than 75,000 patrons from the greater Chicago area to more than 230 performances each season.

The mission of the MAC is to foster enlightened educational and performance opportunities, which encourage artistic expression, establish a lasting relationship between people and art, and enrich the cultural vitality of the community.

For more information about the MAC, visit, or

McAninch Arts Center is supported in part by the College of DuPage Foundation. Established as a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit charitable organization in 1967, the College of DuPage Foundation raises monetary and in-kind gifts to increase access to education and to enhance cultural opportunities for the surrounding community. For more information about the College of DuPage Foundation, visit or call 630.942.2462.

Programs at the MAC are partially supported through funding from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.