The Finesse of Chinese Acrobatics

BEIJING, April 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — An interview with Wang Xiaohui, editor-in-chief from on a popular Chinese acrobatics show:

The video clip you just watched is a selection from a popular Chinese acrobatics show called Ji Jing Si Zuo (Stunning Acrobatics). In this show, acrobats bring out their best, jaw-dropping performances: Cyr wheel, aerial silks, umbrella juggling, and rope skills with acro stunts, just to name a few. Among these, an episode called “Coral Lilies on the Horizon”, which involves bowl flipping on unicycles, is one of the favorites among international audience.

In this episode, performers maintain their balance on unicycles over 6 feet high, in the meantime flipping one bowl after another onto their heads. Apart from individual acrobatic skills like “flipping 5 bowls with one kick”, performers also worked as a team to showcase breathtaking feats on stage, including “starfish flip and catch” and “circular flip and catch”.

But even with these supreme skills, there’s more to the show. “Coral Lilies on the Horizon” is set to a backdrop of the inner Mongolia grasslands. Accordingly, the costumes, background music, as well as its choreography and props all embody elements of Mongolian culture. For example, the big arm movements and skillful wrist coordination, which imitate the swan goose and eagle wings, are typical in Mongolian folk dance. These movements are also classic representations of the nomadic recreation. When doing the circular flip and catch, a performer leaned over to catch bowls – a movement rather similar to horse-riding on the boundless grasslands. As the show came to a close, a performer flips a milk tea (suutei tsai) pot over to her peer. Fun as it is, it also represents the hospitality of the Mongol people, who always warmly treat their guests with gourmet foods and fine beverages.

Unicycle bowl balancing is an acrobatic variety innovated in China. Such group performance repertoires as in “Coral Lilies on the Horizon” were developed by acrobats in Inner Mongolia based on traditional performing skills. The ethnic cultural elements also add to its charm. Likewise, in another episode, 8 girls from Xinjiang performed gymnastic-like routines, combining acrobatic moves and folk dance. These clips gained numerous likes from netizens all over the world.

One user commented: “Those girls are so beautiful and talented.” In fact, not only are global audiences amazed by these performances. As a Chinese, each time I lay eyes on such art, I am equally mesmerized, and I wonder at the dynamic appeal of these acrobatics enriched by the folk cultures of various ethnic groups in China.

Chinese acrobatics date back to over 2,000 years ago. In China, a country of 56 ethnic groups, acrobatics developed by picking culture forms like opera and dance along the way, while absorbing aesthetic and folk elements. I think these acrobatic shows with vivid ethnic features are a perfect interpretation of cultural fusion, as well as the harmony and interconnection among all the Chinese ethnic groups.

We look forward to introducing to you more shows like this, so you can all enjoy the unique charm of Chinese acrobatics.

China Mosaic

The Finesse of Chinese Acrobatics

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