Sunday, December 31, 2006

Chairway to heaven

The Za-Ji Acrobatic Troupe was founded in 1956 in the Anhui Province of China, and have performed throughout China, winning many awards and titles in national acrobatic competitions.

In China, acrobats are revered much as prima ballerinas or opera singers are revered in the West, and it takes years of rigorous training to achieve the excellence demanded by this ancient art form. Children hoping to become acrobats begins their training as young as four or five years old.

The Ladies With Chairs act (seen in the photo)is an extraordinary feat. It involved seven young women building a strange and precarious free-standing chairway to heaven with wooden seats, and then doing handstands on it without either structure or acrobats toppling.

Chinese acrobatics is characterized by feats of strength and daring performed cleverly, precisely and accurately, and the ability of retaining balance in motion. They have to improve their bodies' strength and flexibility to achieve and maintain such high standards.

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