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Historical Review

History and Development Overview

Guangzhou Acrobatic Arts Theater Co., Ltd. (formerly known as Guangzhou Acrobatic Troupe) was founded in March 1959, combining the cores of privately-owned Feiwu Acrobatic Troupe and Greater China Acrobatic Troupe.  It has been 61 years since its establishment.  At the beginning it was under the dual leadership of Guangzhou Municipal Bureau of Culture and the Guangzhou Cultural Park,and the site of the troupe was within the Cultural Park.  In 1962, it detached from the administrative leadership of the Cultural Park and was directly under the Cultural Bureau of Guangzhou.  At the end of 1962, the acrobatic troupe was divided into two performing teams: the acrobatic team and the magic team.  Relocated in 1976, the current location of the troupe is No. 37, Shuiyin Siheng Road, Tianhe District, Guangzhou.

From1959 to 1964, the Guangzhou Acrobatic Troupe held many touring performances in Guangdong Province, Hainan Island and other places.  According to historical materials, the period of 1962 to 1964 was the peak time for acrobatic performances by the troupe then.  Not only had the performers income increased, but the troupe’s assets had also improved. When the Cultural Revolution began in 1966, the troupe ceased all performances.  At the end of 1969, the Guangzhou Acrobatic Troupe was canceled, and the staff and performers were assigned to work in commerce, factories, and other state-owned units.  Until the beginning of 1972, other acrobatic groups in the country gradually recovered, and the Guangzhou Cultural Bureau decided to reorganize the Guangzhou Acrobatic Troupe.  On September 1, 1973, the Guangzhou Acrobatic Troupe was reinstated.  The newly revived acrobatic troupe was based at the old Star Theater in Taipingsha, Beijing Road South.  In the same year, the acrobatics class of Guangzhou Art Secondary School was opened, which solved the problem of successors of the performance team.  In 1974, Li Shen, who was the head of Guangzhou Acrobatic Troupe then, personally led the student acrobats class to Lvtian Town, Conghua City (formerly Lvtian Commune in Conghua County) for six months of closed training.  In 1975, the troupe performed at the Zhongshan Memorial Hall with more than 4000 seats in Guangzhou for two months, each performance brought a full house.  In 1976, the troupe went to Beijing to participate in the national acrobatics shows, six programs won the Excellent Program Awards, which caused a sensation in the national acrobatics circle.  In 1977, the troupe participated in the performance for the Guangzhou Export Commodities Fair and harvested the appreciation of foreign traders worldwide.

Delegating the National Association of Foreign Friendships in 1978, the troupe’s visits to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar were a great success.  Since then, the Guangzhou Acrobatic Troupe of China has gradually gained fame throughout the country and in the world.  In 1979, the second class of acrobatic students was recruited.  However, due to the unstable teaching team, the new blood did not get enough training to take over from the older generation of acrobats.  In 1980, the Guangzhou cultural system implemented the Party's policy of adjustment and reform, and decided to use the Magic Team of Guangzhou Acrobatic Troupe of China as a pilot to establish an art group which was owned by the state, collectively managed, independently accounted, self-financed and surplus-shared.  In the 1980s, Guangzhou Acrobatic Troupe of China successively established the "Junior Acrobatics Team", "Magic Team", "Team of Motor-cycling on the Inner Surface of a Cylindrical Wall", "Global Acrobatic Motor-cycling Team" and "Animal Team", breaking through the inherent forms of performances and increasing the teams’economic income for some time.  Under the arrangement of the Ministry of Culture of People's Republic of China, Guangzhou Acrobatic Troupe of China conducted systematic training for students from countries such as South Yemen, Sri Lanka, Australia and Kenya.  During the 1990s, it focused on rectifying the rules and regulations of the teams, new creation of programs, and external performances or foreign exchange activities.

In 2004, according to the documents related to system reform, the implementation plan for the full-employment system was promoted with the unified arrangement of the Guangzhou Cultural Bureau.  On December 31, 2008, Guangzhou Acrobatic Troupe of China was restructured into a state-owned holding company in Guangzhou Cultural System Reform, and was renamed Guangzhou Acrobatic Arts Theater Co., Ltd..

Creativity Overview

The early creations of Guangzhou Acrobatic Troupe of China were mainly in the form of programs.  Early creation pieces included "Humorous Play", "Juggling", "Vat Heading”, "Fly Fork", "Funny Magic", "Springboard", "Hoops Diving", "Little Martial Arts", "Chairs Skills", "Flying Trapeze", "Acrobatic Biting Flowers", "Double Kicking Technique", "Rope Technique", "Slack Wire Acts", and "Ship Modeling", etc..

Acrobatic programs created in the 1980s and 1990s included "Rolling with Glasses", “Head Balancing of Bowls”, "Hoops Diving", "Acrobatics on Swinging Poles", "Ball Feat", "Acrobatics on Leather Strips", "Spinning Dishes", “Diving through Hoops on Trampolines”, "Uncle Clown", comedy act "On the Racing Tracks", magic "Chinese Tricks", "Duo Spinning of Blankets” and so on.  The themed gala shows were "Golden Youngsters", "Guangdong Styles", "Canton Beat" and "Golden Stars".

Since 2000, the Guangzhou Acrobatic Troupe of China has mostly been shown on the stage in the form of themed acrobatic gala shows.  In addition to keeping on re-choreographing traditional programs, it also takes large-scale acrobatic drama as its main goal of creation.  Through the integration of external creative power and the troupe's creative resources, it has created a variety of acrobatic dramas with diversified styles and comprehensive arts.  The large-scale acrobatic theme shows include "The Five Elements", “Glory of the Forbidden City”, “Modern Dreams – Ghost Stories from a Chinese Studio”, "Heroic Boys" and so on.  At the end of 2005, it began to produce the large-scale acrobatic drama "Journey to the West", which was premiered in 2006 and performed nearly 1,000 times in the following years.  In 2015, it also created the large scale martial art acrobatic drama "The Legendary Swordsman", premiered in 2016, and put on nearly 100 performances.  In 2019, the troupe officially launched another new creation of acrobatic drama "The Butterfly Lovers".

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