Multi-talented Chinese acrobats held the students of Beaver Dam Elementary School mesmerized as they displayed their extraordinary talents. The Bureau of Lectures & Concert Artists from Lawrence, Kansas, brings these gifted athletes to America and provides schools with the opportunity to schedule a local performance. The show includes acrobatic stunts and feats of balance, flexibility, coordination and strength. The five acrobats from China who performed were Xiao Limeng, Bai Eryong, Wu Guijuan, Lin Xiaoyu, and Duan Zhiyong.
Duan’s excellent and precise English made communication easy. He reported that then acrobats began studying their art at an early age and that success depends upon diligence and hard work. He said the troop enjoys leaving about the different cultures in America. One difference he has noted between Chinese education and that in America is that Americans tend to learn more by themselves, while Chinese school are more formally structured to directly tell the children the topic being studied. Another difference is that Americans tend to enjoy sports while in China the educational and sports competitions involve more pressure than enjoyment. Duan explained that is probably due to the large population of China. He has studied English in school and on the Internet. The acrobats have been in the United States for three months and will stay for another six months. From Beaver Dam they were headed for Phoenix, driving a van and seeing the local countryside.
The presentation lasted for forty-five minutes and the audience was rapt. The children watched the performers tumble and flip, twist and bend, demonstrating how practice, concentration and hard work turn their bodies into moving works of art. They skillfully balanced and juggled plates, silk streamers, porcelain bowls, balls, and hats. They also managed to balance each other in amazing examples of pure strength. As one performer balanced glass bowls while riding a unicycle, Duan playfully advised, “Don’t try this at home!” They even brought fourth grade student Danny Aguilar to join them and be a part of the show. His fellow eagles were very proud of his prowess.
Duan and company bid the children farewell by telling them it was an honor to perform for them. Top Eagle, Phyllis Leavitt, thanked Duan, Xiao, Bai, Wu, and Lin for their brilliant performance and told them they had brought a show to Beaver Dam that the children would never forget!