Auditorium Theatre hosts Jackie Chan’s Story of Eleven Warriors in Five Acts
Stopping in Chicago for one night only, the LONG YUN KUNG FU DANCE TROUPE arrives to help ring in the Chinese New Year. The show is divided into five different acts - each evoking a specific emotion from the audience. The first two show the roots of kung fu, followed by a brief stop in Hollywood, then finally the last two show how this dance genre has evolved and taken new steps.
Act I Source
The first act feels like the beginning of time as we revert back to our roots and connect to nature. It introduces us to each of the dancers and the animals they portray. There is then a drumbeat that feels like a driving force. It feels primitive and forceful as the dancers all lay on stage and slowly rise up. They then transition into a fast-paced, baton twirling frenzy. They jump at each other as though they are jousting. The goosebumps raise on your arms as they climb up on top of each other in a pyramid as they twirl their batons with amazing balance.
Act II Soul
The next act is even more powerful using sharp, edgy movements. The stage is all aglow in red light as a lone dancer watches nature struck by lightning. The projections on the back screen show a fireball beginning to glow. The lone dancer is soon joined by others as they move in fierce harmony.
Act III Master
The third act takes a break from feeling emotions and pays homage to the late Bruce Lee and his unfinished final film, Game of Death. The movie features Bruce Lee as a retired martial arts champion fighting his way through ten floors of challenges. This portion serves almost as comedic relief as one of the dancers acts as a self-assured master of his martial arts dojo. He helps his students get out of a fight by single handedly taking down five ruffians.
Act IV Softness
Then the troupe slows things down. Softness is a dreamlike sequence where white fabric falls from the ceiling and turquoise lights bathe the stage. White lights blink on and off to match the sound of the raindrops.
The dancers move with either swords or parasols in the background as the focus stays on one dancer in front. He seems to be the one having this dream as he can’t quite reach the other dancers.
Act V Celebration
At first this act felt a bit confusing because it’s opening was in no way the “celebration” of its title. Instead it begins with a feeling of turmoil and tension. The dancers wrap each other in long pieces of gray fabric—one is trying to pull away, others are pulling against to keep him in place. But once these struggles are erased, their elongated sleeves, wave like playful banners. It looks like explosions when continuously gather and release their sleeves—how exciting!
Best Part is the Encore
After all is said and done, the troupe bows on stage and heads off to the wings. Wait!— the curtain hasn’t fallen yet! They come back onstage to triumphant music and link hands to run towards the audience.
We are treated to one last dance number followed by each dancer taking individual bows with a move specific to who they are. One backsprings across the stage. Another does about ten standing flips in a row. Their athleticism and focus is astounding. This moment where they can let their personalities shine and show much fun the troupe has together.
All in all Jackie Chan’s LONG YUN KUNG FU DANCE TROUPE is a delight to watch. They combine modern dancing and kung fu moves in their dance sequences. You feel every emotion from calm and relaxed to fiery and passionate.
This one-night performance was held Saturday February 4 at The Auditorium Theatre
For more information about more exciting dance and other entertainment events at the Auditorium Theatre please visit their website auditoriumtheatre.org