Chinese Acrobatics: The Oldest Performing Acrobatic Moves


Chinese Acrobatics: The Oldest Performing Acrobatic Moves

Chinese acrobatic moves have a long tradition in the country’s cultural heritage. They are distinguished by the special emphasis they make on the waist and withstand the greatest possible weight and the constant search for stability and balance.

The acrobatics have a long tradition in Chinese cultural heritage as evidenced by many archaeological remains. In the image, two terracotta vases adorned with acrobats; belonging to the Western Han dynasty.

Chinese Acrobatics: The Oldest Performing Acrobatic Moves

Chinese Acrobatics: The Oldest Performing Acrobatic Moves

Essential Characteristics Of Chinese Acrobatic Moves

After many years of effort, Chinese stunts have developed their own charm and their own characteristics. The first one has to do with the special emphasis they make on the waist and withstand the greatest possible weight, a skill developed since ancient times. In the wall paintings and figures of the Han dynasty, there were already images showing exercises of this type. Thus, the training and strengthening of the waist and legs became the basis of the Chinese stunts.

The second characteristic is the stability, the scope of the balance, as in the exciting number of the tightrope, where the acrobat is obliged to always maintain balance. Stability is also essential in other numbers such as that of the human tower or the placement of superimposed chairs on sidewalks, in which the upper part must find the balance demonstrating absolute calm, precision, and mastery.

Combining Characteristic Elements

The third characteristic of this art is a combination of strength, lightness, and flexibility. The best example is the exercise that involves spinning several objects quickly after hitting them with your feet. To execute this number, the artists lie on a special side table and kick the objects, already prepared, such as jars, colored cylinders, tables, stairs, poles, and drums, or objects as light as silk umbrellas and as heavy as a person over one hundred kilos. All objects fly while spinning quickly as if it were wheels. The public only sees the shadow, but not the images due to the speed of the acrobatic experts.

Fourth we have the use of work tools, another of the most important features in Chinese stunts. Common utensils such as bowls, plates, jugs, pots, ropes, cables or chairs are used differently in the hands of Chinese acrobats and illustrate the close relationship between this performing art and working life. Some numbers are the result of the combination of work skills and popular games. For example, by ropes and whips, the cattlemen tie the horses and drive the floats, while the children use them to jump rope.

What Are The Traditional Acrobatic Moves Numbers Of China?

There are many traditional numbers that have persisted so far and remained the public’s favorites. The most representative is the diabolo, the bowls held on the head, the dance of the meteors, the turntables, the flying trapeze, and the tightrope.

Chinese Acrobatics: The Oldest Performing Acrobatic Moves

Chinese Acrobatics: The Oldest Performing Acrobatic Moves

The diabolo has also the name “two-stick devil”. Its name is in Chinese comes from the use of hollow bamboo to make them. Around the disk, there are several holes that work as whistles. The larger one sounds more serious, while the smaller holes sound sharper. When the diabolo vibrates, each whistle sounds at the same time. The more powerful and sharp, the sound is clearer and maintained. The diabolo is an example of the execution of a number with small and simple objects, a reference of traditional Chinese acrobatics. A beautiful dance mixed with the accompaniment of pleasant music makes people appreciate more the aesthetics of this number.

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