As early as in the Spring and Autumn Period, the art of acrobatics made its debut in China. The first type of acrobatics developed was strength acrobatics, with warriors whirling heavy wheels with their hands. In the Han Dynasty, acrobatic shows became important amusements frequently enjoyed at palace banquets as well as celebrations of the common people.

Ancient acrobatics was handed down from generation to generation. Performances include such well-known ones as “Jumping Through Hoops,” “Diabolos,” “Tightrope Walking,” “Juggling with the Feet,” “Juggling with the Flower Jar,” “Plate Spinning,” and “A Pagoda of Bowls.” After the founding of the PRC in 1949, acrobatics developed rapidly, with the encouragement of the Chinese government. Now, there are nearly 100 acrobatic troupes above the county level, and thousands of non-governmental acrobatic troupes. A large contingent of professional and part-time acrobats has come into being. China has sent hundreds of acrobatic troupes abroad to perform in over 100 countries and regions. From 1981 to 1997, China won gold prizes on 35 occasions, such as the “Prize of the President of the Republic of France,” and the top prize at the “Tomorrow and the Future” International Acrobatic Festival held in France. So far, China has won 85 gold prizes at international acrobatic contests. The superb skills of Chinese acrobats have been praised by people all over the world, and China has been recognized as the leading country in the acrobatics field.

In Jan. 2000, on the 3rd International Acrobatics Festival held in Budapest, the 9-year-old Chinese acrobat Zhang Fayi won the golden award. In the picture, Zhang is performing "Balancing  on a Cable".





There are many places in China where acrobatics is a local specialty, such as Liaocheng in Shandong Province, Yancheng in Jiangsu Province, Puyang in Henan Province, Tianmen in Hubei Province, Guangde in Anhui Province and Wuqing near Tianjin. In particular, Wuqiao in Hebei Province has gained a shining reputation both at home and abroad. Since 1987, the China Wuqiao International Acrobatics Festival has been held once every two years.



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Last updated: 2000-07-13.