[Cross-posting from my Tumblr]
During my 2008 trip to Guangdong China for 6 weeks of studies, one of our weekend field trips led my class to this sort-of training ground for those artists who are in charge of the lion dance and dragon dance during the Chinese New Year. You know, seeing that every year since I was a kid, I thought it was no biggie, just the same old same old.
I was greatly mistaken.
The usual stunts I see back here in Manila are either floor exhibitions where the lion just goes around and around while sometimes the exhibitionists stand on the others knee pretending the lion is on its hind legs. Sure, it’s amazing, but when you see it too often, it gets pretty boring. Either that way, or back in my Chinese school where the administration would sometimes hire those really good exhibitionists who perform on this huge stage and do the whole lion dance thing on chairs and tables. Usually, we’re not near the stage so you can’t really notice the height from where the exhibitionists are jumping.
This is different. As you can see in the picture, these things are poles with a somewhat small foothold surface for people to stand on. Now, imagine doing the whole lion routine on these while jumping from one to another, and keeping to the beat of the drums (which is that thing on the somewhat upper right side of the picture – with the flags). Sure, there is some amount of protection from those cushion-things at the bottom, but that’s still pretty high and not all of them had cushions at the bottom.
To really test out how high this pole was, I decided to go to the furthest end to climb the shortest one as best as I could, then move to the next one beside it.
Where my left leg is standing on, is not the floor, that’s already the shortest pole.
In this picture, you can see the second pole, which is actually already pretty high. This was the highest my teachers would allow me to climb. As you can see, the poles beside me are a lot taller, so imagine how high these exhibitionists are when they’re doing their routine. Also, this surface has a pretty small space for the foot. My shoe size is only 6, and with both feet, there’s not much extra room. So I can just imagine a guy with much bigger feet, balancing on these. Of course, the taller poles have a much bigger circumference, but it’s not much room to balance on if you get the picture. 🙂
Imagine all the training they must be getting to achieve that kind of level.
China is just AWESOME.