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Life's a whirl for top-flight acrobats

2014-05-11 09:58:52

(China Daily) By Zhao Xu


Wu Zhengdan on the shoulder of her husband and performance partner Wei Baohua in their groundbreaking Swan of the Orient, which blends acrobatics and ballet. Provided to China Daily

"It was crazy. But, trust me, at the end of the day, our shared goal always pulls us back together."

Zhao is dating a retired Olympic gold-winning diver she met through a friend.

Wang says it's rare for acrobats who work together onstage to become romantically involved.

"It's not encouraged in our troupe-understandably so," he says.

"What if they break up? Will emotions carry over into their work and make partnering onstage impossible?

"If so, that inflicts much collateral damage on the troupe itself, given it takes two or three years to cultivate a program. An acrobat can't afford to be lovelorn. Any distraction can cause permanent regret."

But while dating may not be easy, there's plenty of love in acrobats' lives.

Wang remembers the first time he saw his name on the list of acrobats the troupe was sending to tour overseas.

"I instantly felt dizzy," he says.

"It was like: 'Wow! Me? Going abroad? Taking a flight?'

"I was standing on top of the world. I literally felt so. One minute before that I was a mere 10-year-old trying to hide a half-eaten chocolate bar from a 'big brother' in the troupe, who'd been asked to keep an eye on my weight-you have to be mindful of it when you're standing on somebody's shoulders."

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