Jabali African Acrobats to Swing, Flip, Twirl onto Amphitheater Stage

Jela Latham / design editor

They fly through the air with the greatest of ease, but it’s all on their own; they don’t need a trapeze.

At 7:30 p.m. tonight, July 24, in the Amphitheater, the Jabali African Acrobats will swing and jump their way onto the stage as part of Chautauqua’s Family Entertainment Series.

The troupe mixes the techniques of both Chinese and African acrobatics to produce a dynamic, energetic show complete with tumbling, flipping, dancing and swinging. Past performances have featured acts like the Congo Snake Dance, the Flaming Limbo Bar Dance and their signature Skip Rope Footwork.

Rosemary Hable, president of Class Act Performing Artists and Speakers, said the performance is one-of-a-kind. Class Act is the organization that connects the Jabali Acrobats to audiences in the United States.

“I think audiences who come see the show are in for an awe-inspiring performance,” Hable said. “Even now, when I see the show, I’m amazed at the talent and skill on display; it’s truly something you won’t find anywhere else.”

According to Hable, the Jabali performers bring a unique twist to the traditional acrobatics show. She said that in addition to feats of juggling, flipping and twirling, the performers add acts like chair stacking and complex rope-skipping footwork that is entirely unique to their troupe.

Hable said that despite the focus and intensity the acrobats pour into their moves, they also add an element of comedy to each show to ensure that audiences will be entertained in a multitude of ways.

One of the goals of the FES is to provide Chautauquans with experiences that will broaden their horizons and connect them with acts they might not be able to see anywhere else. Hable said that for those goals, the Jabali acrobats definitely fit the bill.

“It’s a uniquely cultural experience,” Hable said. “I think that audience members today, children especially, don’t get the chance to be exposed to African culture very often. (The Jabali acrobats) bring a great chance for people to come and connect with a great source of some amazing culture.”

The acrobats train at a school in Mombasa, Kenya, where they master their craft and form connections with one another. After members of the school graduate, they travel around Kenya, performing at various venues and, through companies like Class Act, even bring their talents to international stages.

Hable said the show will be suitable for audience members of all ages, and that the performance will be one that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats.

“I encourage anyone with even a small interest in the show to come out,” Hable said. “It really is an amazing, exciting performance.”
Tags : Family Entertainment Series

The author Duard Headley

Duard Headley is from tiny Yellow Springs, Ohio, and studies journalism and American studies at Miami University in Ohio. Coming hot off the heels of performing in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream last summer, he is excited to cover theater at Chautauqua, merging his love for writing and theater into one experience. In his free time, he enjoys acting, reading, and staring wistfully into the distance as though he were deep in thought (He usually isn’t).