Young star's balancing act awe-inspiring
CAMERON BURNELL/Taranaki Daily NewsSHOW STOPPER: Acrobat Yue Peng, 11, practises his balancing routine in preparation for performing in the Zirka Circus, which opens in New Plymouth tomorrow night.
KATE SAUNDERS, Taranaki Daily News (NZ) 12/04/20 .
Wow factor is apparently the same in any language. The Zirka Circus is in town, and despite star acrobatic performer Yue Peng, 11, speaking no English, he still stunned the Taranaki Daily News crew during a training session yesterday afternoon. Yue, who is known to the circus family as Panda, has been an acrobat since the age of five. Dressed in a sparkly orange hooded suit, the wee gymnast put our adult strength to shame with one-handed balancing, including moving up and down a small flight of stairs. Circus general manager James Finlayson said originally Yue trained every day to perfect his routine, but now practises about four days a week for an hour at a time. Yue indicated his precarious party trick did not hurt to perform. However, Mr Finlayson said part of the training was learning how to fall correctly, and most bumps and bruises happened during practices. Mr Finlayson said the show included aerial and balancing acts, people stacking, clowns and magic. "The main difference is that the whole show is fully choreographed and themed. "There are no safety wires, which adds to the awe factor for the audience," he said. The performance, set to music, was a complete show along the lines of other contemporary circuses such as Cirque du Soleil. Founded by Jeni Hou, the circus is based in Hamilton and has been touring New Zealand since September 2009. Ms Hou's family owns an acrobatic school in China, and many of the current 30 performers have trained there. New Plymouth is the second-to-last stop on the nationwide Zirka tour, which tells a tale of love overcoming all. Mr Finlayson said the response had been amazing so far. "The audience have loved it. They've been amazed and freaked out." The circus will run in New Plymouth on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights, with three shows on Saturday. Book on 0800 294752.