Under the Chinese government-sponsored exchange programs, twenty-four students from five African and Asian countries, including Egypt, Nigeria, Liberia, Mauritius and Myanmar, began in November their one-year training of acrobatics in Wuqiao Acrobatics Arts School, a vocational school well-known for its acrobatics performance in Wuqiao of north China's Hebei Province.
Seventeen-year-old Nigerian Adeola (2nd L) dances with her classmates to celebrate Christmas Eve at Wuqiao Acrobatic Art School in Wuqiao County, north China's Hebei Province, Dec. 24, 2010.
Daily training began in a training hall as large as about two tennis courts in the morning of cold winter. Various basic skills of acrobatics, such as hand-stand, splits, straddle and somersault, were new to these starters, not easy at all. Repeating days after days and guided by their Chinese instructors with simple English words and various gestures, these students learnt Chinese acrobatics and sharpened their skills little by little.
Boring seems the acrobatic training, not their daily life on campus. Playing card games, listening to folk music and learning Chinese songs, surfing online to watch home movies or chat with families, and enjoying Chinese food or even ice creams at winter time, enriched their limited but relaxing spare time.
On the Christmas Eve, the school board held a party for these students with a small Christmas tree and some cakes in the dining hall. African students sang and danced while Myanmar students stayed quieter.
Known as the hometown of acrobatics, Wuqiao has received nine groups of foreign visiting students interested in this ancient Chinese culture since 2002. Among the total of 168 graduates so far, some turned to pillar actors or coaches in circus and some even started their own acrobatics school in their hometown, becoming cultural ambassadors on acrobatics promotion.