Cirque Shanghai Lead

Cirque Shanghai: Dragon's Thunder, an acrobatic circus in the death defying vein of Cirque Soleil, runs through September 2 at Navy Pier's 1,500-seat Pepsi Skyline Stage. This family-friendly show (which is not affiliated with Cirque Soleil) features tumbling, juggling and performers with remarkable core strength balancing in ways that make their overbearing mothers "very nervous." With a total of 36 troupe members, this year's cast is the largest to ever visit the United States. If three dozen entertainers and an open-air stage aren't reason enough to trek to Navy Pier, here are three other reasons to see Cirque Shanghai: Dragon's Thunder.

It's a Show for Everyone

Cirque Shanghai

While it lacks the storyline and artistry of Soleil, Cirque Shanghai still features contortionists, handstands 20 feet in the air and motorcycles. Whether you're 11 or 96 years old, your heart will race when you see five motorbikes simultaneously cutting through a steel globe at reckless speeds. There aren't a lot of stage shows that can hold the attention of mom, her teenage son and second grade daughter, but this is one.

Tickets Are Reasonably Priced

Cirque Shanghai

It's hard to get a ham sandwich and a pack of gum for less than $30 these days, but tickets for this show are priced between $15.50 and $29.50. That's right, for the cost of two Chipotle burritos you can snap your neck to the beat of Chinese drums while an expertly trained gymnast balances on a bunch of dramatically stacked chairs. Tickets are available by calling 800-745-3000 or visiting Discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more are currently available by calling GroupTix at 773.327.3778 or visiting  

There's Something New This Year

Cirque Shanghai

This year's production features "The Chinese Flex Bar" (my go-to wrestling move in high schoo), "Gravity Swings" (sounds like fun) and traditional Chinese "Dragon Drums." For the first time in Cirque Shanghai's North American docket, the traditional Chinese drums will be a major part of the production. There's returning favorites as well, like the "Wheel of Destiny" (spin with caution) and the "Globe of Death," which features five motorcyclists navigating a steel globe.

"Cirque Shanghai" will perform May 22 - Sept. 2, with regular run performances as follows:

  • Wednesday at 2, 6 and 8 p.m. 
  • Thursday at 2 and 8 p.m.
  • Friday at 2, 7 and 9 p.m.
  • Saturday at 2, 6 and 8 p.m.
  • Sunday at 2 and 4 p.m.

There will be additional performances on Thursday, July 4 at 2 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 1 at 8 p.m. and Monday, Sept. 2 (Labor Day) at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

For more information, click here.

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