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A world turned upside down

Circus performers, with their death-defying leaps and twirls, seem crazy to most of us. The acrobatic characters in “PSY” actually do have psychological issues.

Circus performers, with their death-defying leaps and twirls, seem crazy to most of us. The acrobatic characters in “PSY” actually do have psychological issues.

The members of French Canadian circus company Les 7 Doigts de la Main (or The 7 Fingers) are all about their problems with addiction, paranoia, and hypochondria, to name a few. Their act combines malady of the mind with agility of the body in their Boston debut.

“The company brings circus to a human level, by touching the public with emotions,” says Heloise Bourgeois, a hand-to-hand acrobat and Chinese pole master who plays an insomniac in the show. The title, by the way, is pronounced like the letters, P.S.Y.

Bourgeios says the 7 Fingers approach circus in an unusual way, by combining traditional skills with theatrical presence and dance choreography.

Each “PSY” character is plagued by a neurosis, and they all cope in unconventional ways. An OCD patient avoids pedestrian contact on a busy intersection by bounding through the air in seemingly superhuman fashion, while others face their psychological issues via aerial ropes, German wheels, teeterboards and trapeze. Mental fragility meets physical dexterity.

“Everybody has the power to progress,” she says, explaining the show’s deeper meaning. “It shows that even with problems, life is a gift.”

Need to see more people get high?

If you can’t get enough acrobatic entertainment, check out the Golden Dragon Acrobats, a company of Chinese acrobats who dazzle with their plate spinning, chair stacking, and juggling abilities. The art form has been highly revered for 27 centuries in China.

The Golden Dragon Acrobats
Jan. 30, 3 p.m.
Symphony Hall
301 Mass. Ave., Boston
MBTA: Green Line to Symphony
$47-$60, 617-482-6661
www.celebrityseries.org

 
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