Diabolo wows the crowds

16:00, Feb 13 2014
IMPRESSIVE MOVES: Auckland Diabolo Group members Ming Yong and Tony Zhang will perform with two others and give workshops on how to do tricks with a diabolo during the Auckland Lantern Festival.

A group of first generation New Zealanders have found a novel way to connect with their Chinese roots.

Performing tricks with a juggling prop known as a diabolo is not only heaps of fun but it's also a real crowd pleaser, Auckland Diabolo Group member Tony Zhang says.

The tool developed from the Chinese yo-yo and is made up of an axle and two cups or discs which you spin using a string attached to sticks.

It's become a popular act with circuses around the world and can be used to perform hundreds of tricks which include throws, various types of spinning and interactions with other performers.

Auckland Grammar School students formed a diabolo performance group several years ago, partly as a way for old boys to stay in touch after graduation, Mr Zhang says.

The group of about 17 New Zealand-born Chinese members meet weekly to hone their skills and share their knowledge.


They started out by watching instructional videos on YouTube, co-member Ming Yong says.

"Then those who were really into it taught others. We also make up tricks ourselves. You can be really creative with it."

The Auckland University students have performed at the Auckland Lantern Festival with other members for the past three years. They also offer daily workshops during the festival.

Mr Zhang gets a kick out of wowing the crowds.

"What's really cool for us is that not many people do [tricks with a diabolo] in Auckland so we're quite unique."

"It's really nice to be able to show off something that's part of our heritage and culture.

"When people cheer for us on stage, it's a good feeling," Mr Yong says. "It gives me encouragement to get better and show that you can really do a lot of cool things with a diabolo."

They have ramped up their practice sessions to 10 hours a week over the past couple of months in preparation for their 10 minute routine at the festival.

East And Bays Courier