All About Acrobats in Branson MO
Today in China, there are Acrobatic Troupes associated with each province and at times associated with a particular city. Each of those Chinese Acrobat Troupes form associations that are also a part of the national Acrobatic Association. These troupes are sanctioned by the Chinese Government. This means that the Acrobats that are a part of these troupes are the Best of the Best Acrobats. Their professionalism sets world
wide standards and creates cutting-edge acts that compete for the highest level of recognition. In addition the government of China protects the Acrobats that are a part of the sanctioned association with certain workers’ rights. Amateur troops are often not familiar with those rights and work under dissatisfactory conditions.
Each year the Acrobats of China contracts with a troupe from the sanction associations. The visa requirements are stringent including educational plans and tutors for any Acrobat that is 16 or under. Along with a salary for the Acrobats, we are responsible for their housing, transportation, entertainment, medical, and often their meals. Along with meeting the requirements of the Chinese government when we employee Chinese nationals that are a part of a sanctioned government association; we are responsible to meet the requirements of the United States government in regards to employment laws.
History of Acrobats of China
Acrobatics have more than a 2,500-year history in China. Developed from everyday life and work the early acrobatic skills presented in village harvest festivals have now evolved into one of China’ national treasures. Building on the traditional performances, today’s artists have added new techniques and spectacular stunts thrilling audiences around the globe. Highly skilled, rigorously trained, and superbly talented, these performers follow an unbroken tradition since 700 B.C.
Ancient stone carving, earthen pottery and early written works trace the ancestry of today’s spectacular acts to an era long since vanished. Even Confucius’s father was an acrobat – a strongman of unrivaled strength, who, it is acclaimed, lifted 1,000 pound city gates to allow an army to storm through. Acrobats, with their amazing skill of strength and impossible balance, developed out of the annual village harvest celebrations. Every year in the fall the village’s peasants and craftsmen would join in the village square in a celebration of a bountiful harvest … a sort of Chinese Thanksgiving. The common people then would show off their skills by performing fun and exciting feats of daring and strength using tools and common items found around the farm and workshop.
Hoop diving has its origins during the harvest time when the field workers used a tool shaped like a tambourine. These large hoops with woven mesh bottom were used to shake and divide the grain from the leaves and stems. It became a tradition, a challenge, to see who could not only dive through the hoops but also the most hoops and the tallest stack.
Similarly, the pottery maker would learn to juggle and spin his wares. Spinning a pot to make it uniformly round and smooth is a natural action of the potter. However, when he adds to this a few tricks of juggling and tossing into the air, he becomes a local hero performing a thrilling feat. Jar Juggling required precision, strength, & amp; showmanship.
Chair Stack - climbing to the top of a tall stack of chairs; Spinning plates on the end of a long bamboo stick; Bench balance - balancing wooden benches (the size of a saw horse) on the head; Flipping bowls with feet; Pole Climbing whether on tall poles or long leather straps – these and most other traditional Chinese acrobatic acts come from the lifelong skills of the village peasant, river sailor and local craftsman.
The Acrobatic Arts are also closely associated with the art of magic as many of the acts that Acrobats do are often ones that help a magician and his assistants complete the magic trick. Magic also added a humorous side to the Acrobats of China show.
As skills were developed, they were passed down from generation to generation to become the feats of strength, balance and grace that encompass this unique Chinese tradition. Like the traveling gypsies of Europe, the great acrobatic families of China would entertain the city rulers and the village people. Today there remain only a few brothers and sisters of the old and famous acrobatic families. They have organized China’s traditional entertainers into professional acrobatic troupes with formal academies for training young promising entertainers and internationally award winning performing companies.
Combining the traditional and classic Chinese dance and human performance art with the amazing abilities of today’s athlete, many Acrobats begin learning at between 6 and 8 years of age. Depending on the skill they master, many retire from performance in their twenties and thirties; although they often go into management. All of the professional troupes have their own schools and academies where many of the Chinese Champions train for Olympic gymnastics. Our Acrobats enjoy the community of Branson where they visit Silver Dollar City, go to other shows, love shopping, experiencing Branson Zipline Canopy Tours, Parakeet Pete’s Waterfront Zipline, do some fishing and boating, and more. In their spare time they mostly like to listen to music, do modern day dance, play video games, talk on-line to their families and friends back in China, and generally Explore Branson.