20th Year Anniversary ... 1984 - 2004




09:10 PM CST on Wednesday, December 31, 2003

By ESTHER WU / The Dallas Morning News
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If you've ever seen the Chinese acrobats at work, you've probably wondered how they can accomplish such amazing feats.

According to one fan, years of training make it all look easy.

"The Chinese Golden Dragon Acrobats' success is built on Chi Kung, the Asian philosophy of inner strength, a harmony between an athlete's strength and impeccable balance and timing," said Dr. Charles Ku, president of the Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce of Dallas/Fort Worth. "These acrobats are trained almost at birth to one day accomplish these gravity defying feats."

For centuries, Chinese acrobats have entertained audiences with their show-stopping juggling skills and balancing acts. Based in Taiwan, the Chinese Golden Dragon Acrobats are internationally known. Different troupes have performed at amusement parks, Las Vegas and even the State Fair of Texas.

But if you missed their show at Fair Park, there's another chance to catch the tumbling act today.

The Chinese Golden Dragon Acrobats kick off their U.S. tour today with a performance at 2 p.m. in Richardson High School's auditorium at 1250 Belt Line Road in Richardson. Tickets are available at the door for $10 and $20.

The show is a benefit for the Sun Ray Chinese School, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Sun Ray is the first Chinese-language school in this area, said Dr. Ku, a Lewisville dentist and one of the founders.

"The school was started when several parents got together and lamented over how their children were losing their Chinese language skills," he said.

"We were afraid they would soon lose their heritage. So we decided we needed to start a class that would also serve as a support system for our children. There weren't too many Asians living in this area 20 years ago, and we felt they needed a stronger sense of community," he said.

The class took place in a private home, but as word spread, more children began showing up for the weekend classes. "We finally moved into a church in Carrollton; that was our first weekend school," Dr. Ku said.

Today, Sun Ray schools are in Carrollton, Plano and Arlington with a combined enrollment of about 900. About 10 similar schools have also been established in North Texas with a similar curriculum Chinese language, traditional dance and Kung Fu as well as offering coaching for students who take advanced classes in math and English.

All the schools do very well, according to Dr. Ku, because of the high value Asian parents place on education.

And, according to Dr. Ku, celebrating the school's 20th anniversary with the acrobats is fitting as it brings awareness to this Chinese art form.

"Our school's goal is to build harmony while educating about our thousand-year traditions of art and history," Dr. Ku said.

"The stars of the Chinese Golden Dragon Acrobats represent the best of this revered tradition, mixing award-winning acrobatics, traditional dance, spectacular costumes, and ancient and contemporary theatrical techniques to present a show of breathtaking skill and spellbinding beauty.

"Everyone loves seeing the human pyramid performed on a bicycle and the artist who balances upside down on top of an incredible tower of stacked chairs."

The acrobats will also kick off the area Lunar New Year celebration by performing at the Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce's celebration at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Hotel Inter-Continental, 15201 Dallas Parkway in Addison.

It seems almost fitting that the acrobats usher in the Year of the Monkey.

E-mail ewu@dallasnews.com

SCHOOL STARTS AUG 25 at the Carrollton Campus. Click on the registrar section for more information on enrollment.
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PLANO ENROLLMENT for Plano Campus now open. School starts Saturday, August 25.
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UPDATED Summer School pictures of students, classes, and field trips now available in the Photo Gallery.
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03/05/04 Young Asians Face ...
When his two children were in middle school, Philip Shinoda of Dallas gave them a blunt warning: "You're not competing against Bubba and Peggy Sue."
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12/31/03 Chinese Acrobats ...
If you've ever seen the Chinese acrobats at work, you've probably wondered how they can accomplish such amazing feats. According to one fan, years of training make it all look easy.
:: Click here to read article.

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Last Update Mon 02.02.2004