Tue, Oct 03, 2017 - Page 13 News List

Wheel of perseverance

Street performer Yang Shih-hao’s mastery of an unusual acrobatic apparatus drew much attention during a recent tour in Europe, including a video that went viral on Facebook

By Han Cheung  /  Staff reporter

SLOW CIRCLES

Yang usually focuses on practicing before heading abroad to perform, but one can occasionally catch him at the street performance area in Xinyi District (信義) on weekends.

“In Taiwan, there’s a slowly growing circus scene,” he says. “But the difference is that in Europe, you can easily travel to other countries to perform. Here, your options are limited, plus our neighbors do not have much of a scene yet.”

He prefers to remain a street performer as he doesn’t want to be restricted by his troupe or employer, noting that his strong suit is his personal style. He also likes the intimacy of a surrounding crowd.

“Most Cyr wheel performers focus on power while mine is slow. It’s actually harder to slow down. I’ll play very soothing classical music in the background to create a relaxing experience. Audience members often tell me that it was like they just had a dream.”

With an ROC flag on his Cyr wheel case, Yang always tells people where he’s from after each performance.

“Many people actually know the difference between Taiwan and China,” he says. “I don’t need to explain it. But I always mention Taiwan because people ask me anyway.”

As Yang’s craft continues to mature, he hopes to take his personal style further. One idea is to find a way to combine hat juggling with Cyr wheeling. Another is to apply paint to the wheel so it leaves colorful rotation marks on the ground.

“It’s kind of like performance art,” he says. “But I don’t try to convey anything or add any meaning to my art. I simply do it first, and I’ll have a good story later.”

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