Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Move over, Cirque du Soleil, for truly dazzling Shanghai acrobats are coming in to perform
By Nancy T. Lu
Move over, Cirque du Soleil. The young Chinese performers from the Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe are coming in.
When either Cai Yong or Jing Ying of the visiting Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe takes to the spotlight to do a solo acrobatic act, onlookers cannot help gasping at the beauty of the slowly unfolding and changing body lines. Every painstakingly studied, well-balanced move especially in a handstand performance gets executed gracefully under full physical control.
The award-winning Cai gets to demonstrate his breathtaking spinning feat while standing on his head for several minutes. As explained by him, he must stay focused and he must remain firm at his waist to keep up his dazzling act.
Cai, only 17 but looking years younger off-stage, started training as a gymnast when he was eight. Jing, 15, began taking lessons in acrobatics when she was only six. Sheer interest led them to the Shanghai School for Acrobats. And there was no turning back.
Both know the hardships and challenges on the road to nearly flawless showmanship. Trainings in the early years lasted as long as seven hours a day, according to Jing. Cai now puts in about three hours of workout daily.
Injuries like pulled muscles and sprains have been inevitable. The two have likewise learned the importance of a life of discipline to make possible shining, even glorious moments. Even their diets must be watched closely for them to stay fit as well as to keep away unwanted flab.
Performances by the Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe at the Taipei Zhongshan Hall on October 13 and 14 are kicking off the Shanghai Culture Week in Taipei. The program will also feature the traditional multiple loop acrobatic act, plate-spinning and a number using hula hoops. For ticket information, call tel. (02)25772568.