Acrobats limber up for festival

18:25, Feb 28 2013
Chinese Lantern Festival, Shanghai Starlight Acrobatic Troupe
HEAVY HULA: Ying Shuang Deng, of Shanghai Starlight Acrobatic Troupe, wows children at Clarkville Primary School yesterday.

Performers will be bending over backwards, literally, to please crowds at the Chinese Lantern Festival in Hagley Park this weekend.

The Shanghai Starlight Acrobatic Troupe have an impressive repertoire which includes contortion, human pyramids, hula hoops, face-changing and magic.

The group of 14 were warming up by performing for pupils at Clarkville Primary School yesterday.

Acrobatic troupe leader Wang Fengxian said the acrobats started training from the age of 6.

"Their parents believe the acrobatic training provides discipline for the child, plus a career and a free education. They train 10 hours a day, including stretching, and have Sundays off," she said.

More than 60,000 people attended the lantern festival in Christchurch last year.

About 40 performers will take part this weekend including the acrobatic troupe, a Chinese rock band, a tea ceremony artist, and a traditional dough figurine maker.

The free festival will run tomorrow and Sunday from 5pm until 10.30pm at Carlton Corner, Hagley Park. Car parking with space for 1000 cars is available off Riccarton Ave.

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