International students who have been studying acrobatics at Wuqiao Acrobatic Art School in Hebei province will finish a one-year acrobatics training program this month, and go back home to teach their own students or continue acrobatic performances, Hebei Daily reported on June 15.
The 25 international students, who are mainly from countries such as Ethiopia and Laos, came to Wuqiao to learn acrobatic skills through a program sponsored by China's Ministry of Commerce.
By this July, more than 300 people will have trained at the school since 2002.
An international student from Ethiopia practices acrobatics at the Wuqiao Acrobatic Art School in Hebei province on June 16. [Photo/Xinhua]
Wuqiao county in North China's Hebei province is considered the birthplace of Chinese acrobatics due to a long history of aerial performances that stretches back more than 2,000 years.
Even today, its residents, both young and old, can often stun tourists with their astonishing acrobatic skills.
Murals in an ancient tomb in the county estimated to be more than 1,400 years old depict scenes of people doing handstands and riding horses.
In villages, fields or courtyards in the small county of 280,000 people, acrobatic stunts are seemingly performed everywhere. Daily household or farming tools are often used in performances.
An international student from Laos practices acrobatics at the Wuqiao Acrobatic Art School in Hebei province on June 16. [Photo/Xinhua]
There are more than 2,000 professional acrobats working in 37 State-owned and private troupes in Wuqiao.
In some families, children as young as 2 years old have already started receiving acrobatic training.
In recognition of the influence and appeal of acrobatics in Wuqiao, the Ministry of Culture officially named the county "the home of acrobatics" in November 1996.
Also, China Wuqiao International Circus Festival which is held every two years has added to the county’s name recognition around the world.
It is now considered one of the three most influential acrobatic competitions in the world along with the Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival in Monaco, and the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in France.
An international student from Ethiopia practices acrobatics under the guidance of a teacher on June 15. [Photo/Xinhua]