Springboard Stunts and Traditional Sports

Difficult five-person tower in Women’s Group Springboard Stunts Acrobatic Springboard Stunts have their origins in traditional sports. In northern China, many young women are springboard enthusiasts, and competitions are often held during Spring Festival. Legend has it that in the past young women, who were rarely allowed to leave their houses, practiced spring-board jumping as a way to get a glimpse at the world beyond their courtyard walls. Today, Springboard Stunts are among the most popular acrobatic acts on the international stage. Chinese springboard technique has evolved rapidly since the 1980’s, and many new stunts and acts have been developed.

Among recent new acts are the precise and exquisite Single Springboard Stunts; the impressive Men’s and Women’s Group Springboard Stunts; traditional Yanbian-Style Springboard Stunts; and Spring-board Foot Catch, in which the jumper lands on a catcher’s feet. Perhaps the most spectacular of all is Women’s Group Springboard Stunts. In this act, up to five lithe and graceful young women stand on each other’s shoulders on the springboard. Leaping aloft, they backflip through the air in movements deemed arduous even among male performers, to land in configurations resembling huge blooming flowers. All agree that this act is unprecedented in acrobatics.

Acrobatic troupes throughout China have created their own distinctive versions of Women’s Group Springboard Stunts. Valiant Red-Clad Daughters, by the Guangdong Acrobatic Troupe, utilizes inno-vative acrobatic technique rich with the flavor of the East in a vivid portrayal of Chinese women, as elegant as flowing water and graceful as the swooping swallow. The Flag Circus of China’s version ofWomen’s Group Springboard Stunts is based on a traditional story about the ethnic Jingpo people and their relationship with the Earth and Sun. Portraying a sun worshipping ritual with a human pyrami five levels high, the performers blend exquisite performing art, meaningful subject matter, and tradi-tional atmosphere. These acts have all won top prizes in major international and Chinese competitions.