The Qian Brothers
By Dominique Jando
Qian Jian Ping and his brothers, Qian Jian Hua and Qian Jian Wen, came from an old family of Chinese entertainers. They practiced the ancient Chinese art of "Hand Skills", which we know as juggling. In the well-organized world of Chinese acrobatics in the People's Republic of China, the Qiang Brothers belonged to the Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe, where they developed their remarkable juggling act.
In 1986, the Qiang Brothers represented the Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe at the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in Paris, where their juggling trio won a Gold Medal and the Prize of the President of the Republc—the Festival's top award. Back in China, Ping was rewarded with the title of Director of the Jiangsu branch of the Chinese Acrobats Association. (Jiangsu is the province of Nanjing.) He was also invited to teach juggling in Australia.
One of China's top acrobatic troupes, the Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe traveled occasionally abroad, and in 1988, they were invited to the Big Apple Circus, in the United States, to be feastured in its production of The Big Apple Circus Meets The Monkey King. The Qiang Brothers were one of the main reasons why this specific troupe was invited. (Paul Binder and Michael Christensen, the founders of the Big Apple Circus are former jugglers who can appreciate great juggling when they see it!)
The Qian Brothers toured with the Big Apple Circus during its 1988-1989 season, during which the events of Tienanmen Square had been widely shown on television. At the end of the tour, in July, they defected to the United States. They eventually settled to Las Vegas, but unfortunately, the brothers didn't resume their juggling career.
- Video: The Qian Brothers, Juggling Act in the Big Apple Circus production of The Big Apple Circus Meets The Monkey King (1988)