US national pole dancing champion Natasha Wang had an embarrassing fall on live television on Tuesday when performing on the Good Day LA show.

After gracefully flexing and swinging, the 35-year-old fell while hanging upside down during her routine.

Good Day LA host Steve Edwards ran to her aid but Natasha quickly jumped back up and insisted she wasn’t injured.

The sporting Wang tried to laugh off the fall by saying: “Welcome to live shows. I missed my last trick, it was a big one.”

Steve replied: “We didn’t miss it, it happens though right?”

Natasha Wang has been pole dancing for six years and currently trains at LA’s Be Spun, The Pole Garage and Kinetic Theory Circus Arts. She began competing in 2009, first at the California Pole Dance Championships and in the USPDF West Coast Regionals. The same year, she started performing in local pole dance showcases such as Medicinal Mondays at Good Hurt, Fly at Shin, and Girl Next Door at King King, where she is one of the principle dancers. In 2010, she won the title of ‘Miss Pole-Am’ at East Meets West’s Tri-Pole Challenge.

Natasha Wang in action

Natasha Wang

On April 29th, Wang emerged champion at the 2011 U.S. Pole Dancing Championships held for the third time in New York City, winning the $5000 first place prize and an all expense paid trip to perform at Miss Pole Dance Australia 2012.

Natasha Wang runs through her routine at the US Pole Dance Championships in New York City April 29, 2011.

Wang won this year's championship title with a Black Swan inspired routine, earning her a standing ovation.

"When I saw the movie, obviously it really spoke to me," said Wang, who does not have a professional dance background and who works in public relations. "I'm very meticulous and almost driven to the point where I'm going crazy to try to make everything perfect, so I could just relate to it."

Wang, for her part, is proud of the achievement and ranks it as one of the biggest highlights of her life, albeit with a caveat.

"It's up there, but I haven't had children yet," she said.

Natasha Wang

Displaying agility and balletic grace, Wang made a strong case for rejecting the stereotype that associates pole dancing mainly with seedy strip clubs.  When the average Joe thinks of pole dancing, strippers and strip clubs immediately pop into his mind.

Pole dancing is gaining popularity as a new way to get in shape, something akin to aerobics. Pole dancing enthusiasts are attempting to shift common views associated with pole dancing from nude stripping to an aerobic sport.

The U.S. Pole Dancing Federation was founded in 2008, and co-founder Wendy Traskos defends pole dancing as a misperceived victim of negative stereotypes. She points out that "The definition of stripping is taking something off, and these women are not doing that. They're coming out in their outfits and you do have to have your skin exposed in order to stick to the pole."

Watch Natasha Wang going through her beautiful routine in the video below.


Hou Honglan was born on Oct.19th, 1976 in Chengdu Sichuan Province. Honglan is one of China’s most famous ballerinas as well as a guest professor of Sichuan Dance School and Sichuan Occupation Art College. Honglan was selected by Amway China in December 2008 as one of its faces of its cosmetics brand Artistry.

Hou Honglan - 'Princess of Ballet'

Hou Honglan - the face of Artistry

In 1986, at the age of ten, Honglan enrolled at Sichuan Dance School, where she learned folk dance. During her ten years at the school, she attended many nation-wide performances and competitions and won a lot of awards. In a surprise move, she majored in ballet, rather than folk dance, when she joined the Beijing Academy of Dance where she studied from 1989 to 1995.

Hou Honglan showing her ballet move

Hou Honglan peforming a ballet dance

After her graduation from Beijing Dancing Institute, Honglan joined the National Ballet of China, one of the best ballet theatres in China. She knew that it was a good opportunity for her to learn from many excellent performers and artists. She has starred in The Red Detachment of Women, Le Corsaire, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Dying Swan, House of Flying Daggers, Pirate, Bakhtar and Raise the Red Lantern.

Hou Honglan The Princess of Ballet

Hou Honglan - China's Princess of Ballet

In June 1997, she went to Luxembourg alone, participating in the fourth International Ballet Competition and won the women adult solo dance Gold medal. In the same year, she held her individual special ballet show.

In 1999, she worked with Ballet de l’Opera Nationale du Rhin for a year and during her stay in France, she had the opportunity to co-operate with international dancers and was praised as “the ballet princess from China”. Honglan has visited United States, Indonesia, Turkey, Denmark, Israel, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan with the company.

As the prima ballerina of the National Ballet of China, she’s always on her toes. Her life is a dance.


Yang Liping, born 1958, is the director, choreographer and star of a performance art show called “Dynamic Yunnan” that has drawn sellout crowds all over China. She toured Europe and the United States in 2005.

Yang Liping

Between 2004 and 2008, Yang Liping directed and choreographed a trilogy: “Dynamic Yunnan”, “Echoes of Shangri-la” and “Tibetan Myth”. In 2004, “Dynamic Yunnan” won five major awards at the National Lotus Awards, including Gold Award for Dance Spectacular, Best Choreography and Best Female Performer.

A scene from Tibetan Enigma

Another scene from Tibetan Enigma

To create the exotic song and dance spectacular “Dynamic Yunnan”, Yang spent years travelling to remote villages of the 26 ethnic minority tribes in Yunnan and selected over 60 peasants who had the natural gift of song and dance, from whom she built an archive re-creating this rich feast of sight and sound.

Dancers perform during the folk dance show titled The Sound of Yunnan

A dancer performs during the folk dance show titled The Sound of Yunnan

Yang Liping, of the Bai Ethnic Minority in Dali, Yunnan Province , grew up with her two sisters, brother and mother. Despite her parents’ divorce, she developed a positive attitude towards life and art. At the age of nine Yang moved with her family to Xishuangbanna. Although Yang loved to dance since she was very young, she was never officially enrolled in a dance school. Because of her extraordinary gift, she was chosen to join the Xishuangbanna Song and Dance Troupe in 1971 when she was 13 years old.

She became famous overnight for her performance in the Dai dance drama, The Peacock Princess. In 1988, she entered the China Central Song and Dance Ensemble of Nationalities. At the Second National Dance Contest, her dance The Soul of the Peacock, that she choreographed and performed herself, outshone all the other dances and reaped two first prizes, one for choreography and the other for her performance of the piece. A shining star was on the rise. Since then, she and her dances have been frequently shown on TV.

Yang Liping and her peacock dance.

Yang the artist, coming from the deep mountains, has sometimes been dubbed the “sorceress” of dance and the Spirit of Dance. In Taiwan and Southeast Asia, she is also known as the “Goddess of Dance.” Yang’s pure and mellow dance style is a result of her unique figure, intelligence and artistic inspirations from the aboriginal and natural cultural landscape.

Yang Liping...Sorceress of Dance

Yang won the 1979 Best Performance Award of Yunnan Province in the leading role of the large-scale national dance drama “Peacock Princess.” Yang created and performed “The Soul of Birds” in 1986 which helped establish her reputation and acquire various awards. At the closing ceremonies of the Asian Games in 1990, Yang performed the dance again.

In May 1992, she became the first dancer from the mainland to perform in Taiwan. In 1993, her “Two Trees” won the first prize in the CCTV (China Central Television) Spring Festival Party. Yang has traveled to Singapore, the Philippines, United States, Canada, Taiwan and Japan to engage in art communications.

The large-scale dance drama “Dynamic Yunnan” has been an outstanding innovation on the Chinese stage in recent years. Dynamically incorporating traditional beauty and modern flavors with a reintegration of the most original and rustic dance elements of Yunnan, the programme breathes new life into Yunnan culture.

Famous dancer Yang Liping leads a group dance during the folk dance show titled The Sound of Yunnan.

Yang Liping leads a group dance during the folk dance show titled The Sound of Yunnan

Primitive, unsophisticated folk dances and a fresh artistic concept converge in the programme, giving audiences a unique “Yunnan Impression.” Sixty-two drums and 120 masks of strong ethnic characteristics are incorporated in the performance. Other props, like a “praying stone” and bull’s head are taken from real life. A 70-percent cast of ethnic-minority performers and enigmatic lighting and stage effects also add to the programme’s appeal.

Another scene from the folk dance show titled The Sound of Yunnan

Another scene of the group dance during the folk dance show titled The Sound of Yunnan

Yang unveils the mystery and charm of this Chinese top dance prizewinner, which she choreographed and directed herself. This large-scale dance drama, which raises the notion of “original dance” for the first time, comprehensively exposes the hard work, love and beliefs of Yunnan people.

“We just reintegrate the essence of the simple and unadorned dances in the mountains and villages and demonstrate the most original elements of the dances of the ethnic groups,” explains Yang. “If you would like to crawl on the ground, you will find the grass here can dance; if you would like to hear with your soul, you will find the stones here can talk. The dance here is also characterized with its unadorned manner.”

Yang spent 15 months collecting folk dances from the villages and mountains of Yunnan Province . Having watched a great number of genuine folk dances, Yang condensed the most representative movements to create “Dynamic Yunnan.”

“This is a spiritual journey for me,” noted Yang. “My work is to discover and polish the gems so they glitter again.” Yang insists farmer dancers participate in the piece because “they are the people who dance for love and life with ‘original spirit.’”

For a long time, Yang has been known for her choreography and solo dance performances. But returning to her hometown in Yunnan, Yang found that “the simple and unadorned art form that should be cherished did not attract much people’s attention.

“The folk dance is in imminent danger and that makes me very worried,” she said, adding: “At that time the idea of featuring a large-scale folk dance just welled up in my heart.”

“I naturally became interested in dance,” said Yang when interviewed. “The Bai people love nature and advocate the essence of life. So, they usually express their affection for nature and life through singing and dancing.” The first time she performed the dance The Soul of the Peacock, Yang said, “I felt as if spiders and elephants were all around me as I stood on top of an earth mound in my hometown.”

Yang’s dances boast a lyrical touch, which often abandon trivial realities and meretricious expressions. What’s left in her dances are various moves that form silhouettes of a tree, a fish, a bird, or a snake against the backdrop of a moon as depicted in her dance Moonlight. It is said that Yang, with her dances, invites audiences to journey to a fairyland with blooming flowers, singing birds, and running beasts. She gives life to those creatures with her emotional and expressive body language, and communicates with them.

Yang Liping performing Moonlight

No speech is needed in dance. She rarely separates her everyday life from the world of dance. Yang is a taciturn person, and finds it difficult to communicate with others. When she does speak, she mostly speaks to herself; and what she says usually concerns dance.

This is Yang Liping, who lives for dance.


Every day, when night falls, Yao Qifeng, a 10-year-old girl pirouettes and twirls under a dim streetlight on a square in front of Daci Temple in Chengdu, Southwest China’s Sichuan province. She practices attentively basic ballet skills – backward bend, slips, spin and coordination – oblivious to the passers-by who stop to watch her, open-mouthed.

Yao Qifeng

“The streetlights are my stage lights and the passers-by, my audience,” says the 10-year-old, showing not a trace of shyness.

Since April 2009, Yao Qifeng has been making the daily, post-dinner trip to the square to practice her ballet moves, accompanied by her father.

“Dancing is her passion,” says her father Yao Yongzhong.

“My daughter has been following (ballet) performers on television from the age of 4,” the father says.

The 55-year-old father seems abashed while watching his daughter’s movements. “The more she gets obsessive about it, the more I feel ashamed,” he said.

Living on about 1,000 yuan per month, comprising the unemployed father’s subsistence allowance and the mother’s meager wages as a supermarket assistant, the family crowds into a 20-square-meter dark, dank, rented room crammed with old furniture and can hardly afford the expense of learning ballet. However, it doesn’t stop Yao from pursuing her dream.

Yao Qifeng studies at a desk at home in Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan province, Oct 13, 2010.

For Yao, the one bed that occupies a third of their room is more than just a place where she and her parents sleep, it is also her “stage”.

Asked why she is so fond of dancing, Yao says: “I think all dancers are beautiful, and I have always dreamed of being one of them.”

Yao became fascinated with ballet dancing three years ago. Her father borrowed a DVD from a friend and bought dancing discs from vendors’ stands. For Yao, television was her enlightening teacher.

She would often go to the Chengdu Arts’ Center, peering through the windows to watch the ballet lessons.

Yao Qifeng watches her peers practicing ballet in an art center in Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan province, Oct 13, 2010.

“I was full of envy when I saw them dancing, wearing ballet dresses and learning skills from professional teachers. Moreover, they were with piano accompaniment.” She said.

“I never told my parents because one term cost more than 400 yuan – too expensive for my family,” Yao recalls.

But her parents could read her thoughts. Finally, in 2008, after scraping together every penny they had saved, they sent Yao to her long cherished dance class at the Chengdu Arts’ Center.

Yao Qifeng mends her ballet slipper in Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan province, Oct 13, 2010.

“I was too shy to enter the dance room at first, because there were so many people there. But once I started dancing, I forgot everything else,” Yao says.

She dared not dream of a ballet dress, but chanced upon a pair of ballet shoes discarded by a classmate, and has cherished them ever since.

“It wouldn’t matter even if I have to dance barefoot, as long as I can dance,” the girl says.

In just one term, Yao made it to the fourth grade, something that takes most dancers three terms of training.

“She is gifted but she also loves ballet from her heart and works harder than all the others,” Wang Qian, headmaster of Yao’s training school, says. “We could see that she really cherished the opportunity to learn.”

Once the term ended, Yao told her parents she could practice by herself and do without the training.

“Obviously she was worried about the fees,” her father says.

It was her mother who discovered the open ground which, Yao says, is “just like a dance room.” A discarded carpet, which Yao senior picked up outside a shop, completes the picture.

To protect his daughter from injury, the father has brought home a disposed nylon carpet and unfolds it under the street lamp every evening to let the girl perform on an open stage.

“Taking the lamp as a spotlight and passers-by as the audience, I hope she likes it,” said the father.

Yao’s story, highlighted recently by the Chengdu-based West China City Newspaper, has touched millions of Chinese readers via the Internet. Many organizations, as well as individuals, have responded with offers of help.

Thanks to the Soong Ching Ling Foundation (CSCLF), a charity organization, Yao has returned to her dance classes.

“We were moved by her diligence after reading her story,” Tu Huajun from the organization says. “It would be a pity if she has to give up her dream or waste her talents, so we have decided to fund her training with 5,000 yuan (US$751) every year.”

The Ballet Girl Yao Qifeng & CSCLF leaders

Executive Vice Chairman Chang Rongjun giving presents of e-book,e-dictionary and other stationery to Qifeng, encouraging her to study hard .

“She is sensible and self-disciplined, and she spends most of her time studying rather than playing like her peers,” says Hou Mingyu, a neighbor who has known Yao for nearly five years. “She is mature beyond her years.”

Having a wide range of interests, Yao also takes classes in drawing, singing and calligraphy, and has been excelling in these as well.

“It’s like she never tires and has a strong determination to do well in all that she is learning,” headmaster Wang says. “She’s such a vivacious girl.”

Yao has decided to apply to the People’s Liberation Army’s Institute of Arts in Beijing in 2011, where she can study for free.

“I want to learn all kinds of dances, and become a great dancer like Yang Liping or Hou Honglan,” says the confident youngster, without batting an eyelid.

Yang Liping

Hou Honglan

Yang is choreographer and star performer of the acclaimed Dynamic Yunnan show and Hou is often referred to as China’s “princess of ballet.”

I hope that this little girl will truly blossom into a ballet star. That would be a truly uplifting story!


Kara Tointon wept with joy after beating the odds to become UK’s Strictly Come Dancing 2010 champion on December 18  – thanks to a string of dazzling routines.

The 27-year-old former EastEnders actress and her partner, Artem Chigvintsev, amazed the judges, earning their first 10 out of 10 of the series from Craig Revel Horwood.

Kara Tointon and Artem Chigvintsev with the glitterball trophy

One Show presenter Matt Baker and his partner, Aliona Vilani, were runners-up despite going into the final as favourites to win the BBC1 show.

Matt Baker and Aliona Vilani doing their dance routine.

After bursting into tears when the results were announced, Kara told show host Bruce Forsyth: “It’s the most special thing that I have ever achieved.”

Then turning to Artem, who she is now going out with, she said: “I want to thank this man – he’s been wonderful. I have made the most fantastic friend for life and it has been the most special experience of my life.”

But she admitted she was “a bit embarrassed” to be handed the title as Chigvintsev reassured her: “You’re amazing.”

As massive cheers erupted, Tointon focused on her dance partner saying: “I made the most fantastic friend for life.”

And she thanked runner-up Matt Baker, 31, who lost out on the coveted glitterball trophy.

Reflecting on his defeat, the Countryfile presenter and bookmakers’ favourite said: “It’s been great. They were worthy winners without a doubt.”

Tointon’s success came after the third finalist, psychologist Pamela Stephenson, went out of show earlier in the evening when she failed to notch up as many public votes as her fellow contestants.

Tointon drew standing ovations throughout the final BBC1 ballroom show.

Kara Tointon and Artem Chigvintsev doing one of their dance routines.

But her Viennese Waltz to Cry Me A River perhaps drew the most applause and prompted judge Craig Revel Horwood to say: “I would kill to be able to dance like that, I thought it was amazing.”

He awarded the delighted actress a 10 out of 10.

Kara Tointon and Artem Chigvintsev

Alesha Dixon echoed his praise, adding: “I’m quite sad that that is the last dance we are going to see you do.”

Addressing the pair, she said: “Together you are first class.”

But Bruno Tonioli went a step further to say: “You danced to a level that we hardly ever see here. Whatever happens, this was incredible.”

Tointon, from Essex, was awarded full marks by three of the four judges.

Speaking for herself and her partner, she said: “We couldn’t be happier.”

The remark came after presenter Tess Daly fuelled suggestions the pair were romantically linked, telling the audience that Chigvintsev had promised to take his partner on a “date”.

Kara Tointon


Pole-dancing used to be associated with sleaze, bringing images to our minds  of scantily-clad women strutting their stuff for men to drool over their fleshy curves in strip joints. But it has slowly gained acceptance as a sensual art form and a great workout.

Mai Sato of Japan performs during the women's division grand final competition of the International Pole Championship in Tokyo on December 9, 2010

Following the footsteps of modern belly-dancing which took the world by storm, pole-dancing is the latest craze for women who doing it for their own enjoyment.

Pole-dancers do keep some of their clothes on, and the new family-friendly form owes as much to circus acrobatics and gymnastics as it does to the seedier red-light variety.

“The sport has two streams,” said Tina Burrett, a spokeswoman for the International Pole Dance Fitness Association, speaking at the sport’s third international championship held in Tokyo on December 9 .

“One is associated with the stripping and sex industry, but I think today the more dominant stream is actually connected to fitness.”

Burrett said that “the reason why it has become so popular with a lot of women is that, not only does it allow someone to express their sexuality, but it’s actually an incredible workout too.”

“One has to be able to hold one’s body supported with just one limb. It requires stamina as well. A five-minute performance may seem very short, but actually it requires an incredible amount of energy.

“The dancers have a fantastic physique: incredibly muscular but at the same time curvaceous and feminine.”

Burrett, a 33-year-old political scientist, said that to her and many other modern women, pole-dancing is not exploitative but liberating.

“There are women in my class who are doctors, lawyers, diplomats. So I think the image of pole-dancing is changing. We do have some way to go, but I think we are becoming a sport that is associated with strong, confident women.”

But not just females have latched onto the pole craze – the reinvented version is proudly equal-opportunity.

Duncan West, an Australian who won the male category this year in Tokyo, said he is self-taught in “Chinese pole” – a form that he said hails from that country’s ancient circus tradition.

“I’m not sort of a natural performer,” he said, adding that supporters had helped him “overcome a lot of shyness… and to just try to have fun and put my crazy tricks in – but without doing anything too silly.”

Asked whether everyone at home supports his passion, he confessed with a smile: “I do get a hard time for that… especially the guys at work, but you know, I can handle it, so it’s not too much of a drama.”

In faddish Japan, pole-dancing already has a cult following.

“Pole-dancing is popular in Japan now,” said this year’s female winner, Mai Sato, who performs at the Tokyo shows of Canada’s Cirque du Soleil.

Mai Sato of Japan celebrates her win during the women's division grand final competition of the International Pole Championship in Tokyo on December 9, 2010.

Mai Sato

Mai Sato

Asked whether pole-dancing is becoming a real sport, she flashed huge fake eyelashes, flexed her arm muscles and exclaimed “Yes, definitely!”

Burrett even sees a day when pole-dancers may strut their stuff at the world’s ultimate sporting event.

“If things like shooting are considered to be a sport that can be in the Olympics,” she said, “then I really don’t see why pole-dancing can’t.”

Japan's Mai Sato performs a pole dance at the International Pole Championship in Tokyo December 9, 2010.


The internationally acclaimed Guangdong Acrobatic Troupe of China, founded in 1951, is China’s foremost acrobatic company. Renowned throughout the world, the Company astounds audiences with its astonishing productions which push imagination, physicality and technology to their limits in its electrifying presentations of traditional Chinese folk acrobatics within a dynamic modern perspective.

Drawing inspiration from classical dance, traditional Chinese acrobatics and elements of Peking Opera, the Guangdong Acrobatic Company’s extraordinary version of Swan Lake has taken the world by storm since its premier in 2006. A co-production with the Shanghai City Dance Company, this spectacular ballet, a seamless fusion of breathtaking acrobatic feats and magnificent classical dance, has transformed its principal dancers into international stars and thrilled audiences worldwide.

Swan Lake performed by Guangdong Acrobatic Troupe of China

This is not your usual “Swan Lake.” Although this 19th-century Russian ballet has been a fixture on the Chinese stage for decades, the current version contains several decidedly Chinese twists. It opens with Prince Siegfried (played by Wei Baohua) dreaming of a beautiful girl who has been transformed into a swan by an evil eagle, a vision that propels him into a quest that takes him from Europe through Africa, the Middle East and South Asia before landing him in Beijing — a journey that provides the acrobatic troupe with ample opportunity for displays of local color. There, in the Forbidden City, he meets the young Chinese swan-woman (played by Wei’s wife Wu Zhengdan) he will make his bride.

Highlights include Swan Lake’s signature swan quartet turned into a cheeky comic routine for four male hand-balancing frogs. But the undoubted headliners are Wu and Wei, whose extraordinary commingling of dance and acrobatics has attracted upwards of two million hits on YouTube.

At the climax of the beguilingly bizarre Swan Lake, Wu playing the swan pirouettes on Wei’s shoulder, then on top of his head. She is on pointe, her body weight concentrated on one graceful tippy-tippy-toe. It’s breathtaking. Enjoy the performance:

What happens when someone stands on your shoulder on the toes of one foot, night after night? It’s not pretty. There’s a livid indentation in the Wei’s left shoulder — a permanently hardened and bruised muscle – where Wu’s ballet pointe shoe has worn a groove as she strikes remarkable poses on his finely tuned, powerful body. It’s clear that these two talented performers know the meaning of suffering for their art. And, as Wei Baohua and his wife, Wu Zhengdan, are the only people who can do this jaw-dropping stunt, they have no understudies and perform at every show. Ouch.

Swan Lake...Wu Zhengdan on pointe on the head of her husband Wei Baohua

The strongest relationships are based on trust. But pirouetting on your husband’s head on a nightly basis is surely taking trust to a whole new level.

Both Wu and Wei are products of a rigid system, the socialist-era sports school programs that are still geared toward producing Olympic champions. They grew up in Liaoning Province, in northeast China, and first met at the Shenyang Sports School, one of the region’s premier sports schools, when he was 16 and she 6. But Wu and Wei say they went by choice.  Wei was introduced to the sport through his father, an accountant at the local acrobatics school. Wu responded to an advertisement for a gymnastics program.

She was among 3,000 youths who tried out for 20 slots, but she didn’t make the cut.

“The teacher said I was not very tall, and a little fat — not good,” Wu said.

But a teacher from the local sports school saw her routine and asked her to join a eurhythmics program. And so she became a nearly full-time child athlete, usually training 10 hours a day. The teachers were strict, Wu recalled, forcing children to run endless laps around the track or to do splits by placing their legs on two separate chairs and holding a perfect position for 30 minutes at a time.

At 12, she joined the provincial sports school and began teaming up with Wei to compete in sports acrobatics, which involved human pyramids and synchronized athletic movements. Three years later, in 1995, the pair won the national championship. In that same year, in Germany, they were crowned world junior champions. But a year later, Wu fell during an event, injuring her neck. For a year, they didn’t compete. In 1997, they placed a disappointing third in the World Championships in Britain.

Wu was discouraged and weary of the training regimen. She considered quitting and entering a university. Wei was ready to leave the school and the sports acrobatic team himself, but he was also determined to win the world title. Eventually, the two joined the Guangdong Military Acrobatic Troupe, in the far southern city of Guangzhou. Their careers picked up. They won another national championship.

That year, the couple had begun to add some ballet and dance elements to their acrobatic routine with the help of Mr. Zhao, the choreographer, who was recruited by the Guangdong troupe to help develop routines in preparation for the world title event at the XXVI International Circus Festival of Monte Carlo in 2002. They took first prize.

The duo’s dedication to their craft has become central to the production’s impressive international success. Since it premiered in Beijing in 2006, Acrobatic Swan Lake has grown into a global phenomenon, packing out theatres from Moscow to New York thanks to its daring combination of spectacular circus-style stunts and a high level of balletic artistry. The high-adrenalin performances make it a real visual feast!