Chinese Acrobatics

Last Update: 2008-8-19 2:38:00; By shelly

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TOPChinese Acrobatics

Chinese acrobatics, which embraces a variety of skills, has had a long history as a traditional performing art. In the ancient times, it was called Zaji or  Zajiyu. In the early stages of evolution of culture, acrobatics was treated on par with music and dance, and it was an important aspect of culture. During the Han Dynasty (206 BC—220 BC) and the Tang Dynasty (618 BC—907 BC) acrobatics was very popular and it prospered along with music and dance. In the late Ming Dynasty and the early Qing Dynasty, acrobatics was introduced abroad and was highly appreciated by the Americans and the Europeans.

Chinese acrobatics demands years of dedication and rigorous practice. Youngsters aspiring to be part of professional troupes begin their training as early as four or five year olds. In the initial years of training, children are taught how to do the following:

  • Balance
  • Tumble
  • Dance
  • Be Flexible
  • Use their Strength

 

Once they have grasped the basics of the craft, the children spend the next few years in mastering and perfecting specific acts. And by the time, they are in their early teens, they are ready for their first stage performance.

Apart from the spectacular show of flexibility, fluidity, and aesthetic beauty, look out for following characteristic features in Chinese Acrobatics:

  • Strong physical training
  • Balance between movement and quietness
  • Flexibility and strength
  • Nimble and swift movements
  • Adaptation to environment 

TOPStrong physical training

Chinese acrobatics requires strong physique and a training of waist and legs in particular. As the popular saying goes acrobatics combines the skills and fitness of an acrobatic fighter and the presentation skills of a Peking opera performer.  

TOPBalance between movement and quietness

Chinese acrobatics emphasizes a balance between movement and quietness. In the performance called the Ancient Performance of Acrobatics, the acrobats wear only a long gown and a thin sheet and look like an average person. But they present seemingly impossible miraculous performances, demonstrating the oriental mystique. 

TOPFlexibility and strength

Chinese acrobatics combines the strength and the flexibility of human body. It emphasizes both the flexibility and sturdiness of the human body as though combining Qigong and martial arts. (Qigong is an ancient Chinese practice of improving the balance of one’s energy fields through the study of meditation, breathing techniques, postures and exercises).

This is well demonstrated in the act of Bicycle Balancing. In this performance, the dexterity of the feet manipulate props such as wine jars, bell, table, ladder, people, carpets, and color umbrella.

TOPNimble and swift movements

Chinese acrobatics combines physical power of the human body with nimble and swift movements.

TOPAdaptation to environment

Chinese acrobatics brings about strong adaptability of the human body and mind to the environment.

All these features infuse a unique charm and glamour in Chinese acrobatics.  As a result, the Chinese acrobatic performers have won many prizes and awards in the international arena and China has been acclaimed as "The Country with the Best Performance of Acrobatics".

 

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