The art of acrobatic performances was developed over 2,500 years ago in China’s Hebei Province as a source of household entertainment. Acrobats used their creativity to juggle and balance everyday objects like tables, chairs, jars, plates, and bowls. Their talents were showcased at celebrations like harvest festivals. It didn’t take long for these shows to attract the attention of emperors and spread across the country in popularity. In order to expand their acts, the acrobats began to incorporate costumes, music and theatrical elements to their performances.
The popularity of acrobats has remained over thousands of years. Today, there are approximately 100,000 students that attend acrobat schools in China. Students begin training around five or six years old for six days a week. Training involves developing the acrobatic foundation: flexibility, tumbling, handstand, and dance. After training for nearly 10 years, the most talented young acrobats join professional troupes (a touring acrobat team).
During Magical Winter Lights 2015, Houstonians had the opportunity to watch acrobatic artists from an acrobatic troupe perform live twice every night. Their act included contortion, hoop driving, single hand balancing, grand acrobatics & martial arts, Icarian acrobatics, and a traditional Chinese Opera act called “Face Changing”. Face Changing, or Bian Lian in Chinese, is an ancient Chinese dramatic art from the Sichuan opera. Performers wear brightly colored masks which they change from one face to another through their act. The mystery is if the audience can notice the moment he changes his mask.
To become a live entertainer at Magical Winter Lights, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Entertainment Inquiry”.
Photo Credit: Debi Beauregard