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Chinese Acrobatics

One of the most popular art forms in China, Chinese Acrobatics has a long history which has thrilled spectators for thousands of years. Originally viewed as an art form for the masses, it quickly became popular with the upper classes and was even seen in the court of China’s emperors. It remains popular to this day and China best acrobatic troupes have toured around the world and performed for heads of state. Modern staging and lighting techniques has been incorporated into performances allowing this ancient art form to reinvent itself in the modern era.

The origins of Chinese Acrobatics have been lost to time. It is known that during the Qin Dynasty (221-207BC) there was a performance art, known as Jiaodi Drama, which was popular with the common people. It was a variety show which incorporated; wrestling, music, dance, martial arts, horseback feats, and juggling. The acrobatics and juggling performances developed during the Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD) and in 108BC, Emperor Wudi (140-86BC) held a banquet that included acrobatics. The performances became more elaborate and difficult and during the Tang Dynasty 618-907) acrobatics became popular in the imperial court, which allowed it to become quite a prosperous occupation causing refining of the art to continue. During the Song (960-1279) and Yuan (1271-1368) Dynasties, acrobatics lost favor with the imperial court and were relegated back to the common people and most performers lived by performing in the street and passing the hat to earn their living. The art stayed alive and was handed down from generation to generation. In the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) acrobatics was still a street art, but performers started to work together to make their performances more exiciting. It slowly became more popular and by the end of the dynasty, some performances were performed on stage. During the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), it again became popular in the Imperial Court and has remained so to this day.

Most Chinese Acrobatic performers begin their training as early as four or five years of age. The basics are studied for the first two years. These include; balancing, tumbling, dancing, contortions, and weight training. For the next three years students begin perfecting their chosen specialty. They will continue until their mid teens when they will begin performing. The years of training focuses the mind and body to work together in perfect harmony to ensure safety and perfection. The performers have perfected their art to a level that performances look deceptively easy.
Performance-of-Strength Performance of Strength

Modern Chinese Acrobatics performances seamlessly combine the ancient acts with modern developments. It is constantly developing to ensure that it maintains its high standards and edge of your seat excitement. Some of the acts seen are; juggling, Chinese yo-yo, balancing acts, contortionists, plate spinning, bungee performances, and jumping through hoops, etc. Many performing troupes, such as the Shanghai acrobatic troupe has traveled around the world to share their art form with different cultures. Their performances are always sold out and are hugely applauded. China is generally regarded as being home to the best acrobatic performers in the world.

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