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April 24, 2014 / windlessly

China Chronicles 4.24- Acrobatics Show

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We went to the Beijing Chaoyang Theater the other day! It was actually super entertaining… I’ve never really gone to an acrobatics show before, so all of the things that I saw were pretty amazing. The acrobatics were impressive: a girl was doing one-handed handstands thirty feet in the air, there was a team of guys doing choreographed back flips and somersaults, and this one girl was balancing an umbrella on its edge… with her feet (though it wasn’t exactly acrobatics, it still would have put many futsal street performers to shame… she was spinning, balancing, throwing, and catching umbrellas with her feet, laying on her back. I mean, I can’t even balance an umbrella on its edge with my hands… how can she do that with her FEET??)

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And there was a great deal of creativity, which I especially enjoyed. There were these guys in straw hats that simultaneously put on hats and took them off while juggling them, all in tune with corny but fitting music. There was also a performance that managed to fit 12 girls on a single bicycle, as well as 8 motorcyclists into one motorcycle cage (that was actually impressive- we were on the edge of our seats, yelling at them to stop lest they crashed into each other, much less put MORE guys on motorcycles into the cage).

This pictures shows ONE motorcyclist. Add 7 more and you’ll understand how scared we were for them…

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I’ve always wondered about the culture of circus and acrobatic performers… on one hand, it must be awesome to do something that you love, and especially to do it with a group of other equally talented and passionate performers. But on the other hand, it must be extremely repetitive- everything hinges on your ability to perform. There’s no room for rest when you are asked to repeat, crowd after crowd, a talent or skill that you’ve worked so hard to perfect. I got extremely mad at the people who got up to leave as soon as the show was over… to me, that was a huge sign of disrespect. The least we as an audience could do was appreciate how much effort had gone into the show we had just enjoyed. The least we could do was stay in our seats for another thirty seconds and clap as the performers took their bows. To do otherwise would be to dehumanize the performers- you don’t simply leave after a concert as if turning off a CD, nor do you leave after a musical or play as if they were a film that had just finished playing. 

I thought the performers were fantastic. I would’ve like to have told them personally. It must be draining to perform such strenuous acts, week after week, but I really enjoyed watching them and really appreciated the show that they put together for us. Huge kudos to them!

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