The Chinese Circus Takes the Smoky Mountains by Storm
By Bennie McCann © 2008, All Rights Reserved

When you think about exciting shows in the Smoky Mountains one of the first things that comes to mind is probably country music. Whether it’s an act appearing at Dollywood or one of the many other local theaters, the Smokies offer limitless opportunities to be entertained with blue grass, gospel and other styles of music.  After all, that’s part of the heritage of the area.  However, now there’s another country represented in the Smokies that can keep you entertained… China!

As of this year, the Smoky Mountains are home to the Cirque de Chine.  No, it’s not a new country music group.  It's a Chinese circus in the best tradition offering everything from thrilling acrobats to daredevil motorcyclists.  The phenomenal acts are sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.  This is definitely a must-see for every member of your family.

This two-hour show is located at the Smoky Mountain Palace in Sevierville just up the road from Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.  For a moderate price, 60 gold and silver award-winning medalists keep you mesmerized while they perform incredible stunts right before your eyes.  With more than 75 costumes representing the Chinese culture, these acrobats show off amazing skills that have been around since the 12th century. 

Watch with anticipation as gymnasts display perfect timing while diving through multiple hoops.  You’ll also see unbelievable balance displayed with plate spinning, pole climbing and cup rolling. Don’t be fooled.  These acrobats perform with such grace and skill that they make it look easy.  In reality they train extensively for years on end to reach this level of precision.

In addition to spinning and flipping, you'll witness the ancient Chinese art form of Diabolo, or Chinese yo-yo.  This is not like the yo-yo you played with as a child.  Chinese yo-yos are bigger and spin much differently than their American counterparts.  Voted “Favorite Acrobatic Act” by the Chinese people, the Yo-Yo Troupe will keep you spellbound as they show the tricks that helped them become triple gold medal winners.

Other performances include the Thunder Drums, a group of ladies known internationally for their talent.  You might recognize them from the recent Jet Li movie “Fearless.”  If this is your first experience, it’s definitely one you won’t forget.  And it only gets better! 

Imagine several fast-paced motorcycles riding inside an enormous transparent ball.  Can they stay out of each other's way?  With such close quarters, will they crash?  These Guinness World Record holders ride with breathtaking speed and agility.  It’s guaranteed to be a one-of-a-kind performance.  Add to all this magicians working with fire, synchronized bike riding and acrobats that twist and turn their bodies into living sculptures, and you’ll understand why this is a show everyone raves about.    

If you’re looking for shows that are new and exciting, you don’t have to go to Las Vegas or New York.  Just take a drive to the Smoky Mountain Palace and see the Cirque de Chine.  The combination of music, lights and costumes along with ancient Chinese traditions provides a show like none other.  Schedules are available online so check to confirm that Cirque de Chine is performing during your visit.  Make your reservations now so you don’t miss this truly amazing show.  You’ll be glad you did!