Ir­ish woman en­joy­ing life as a per­former af­ter at­tend­ing fa­mous acro­bat school

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

SHI­JI­AZHUANG — At 11 am, when her class­mates have com­pleted their morn­ing ex­er­cises and started their aca­demic cour­ses, Jes­sica Doolin is the only per­son in the train­ing room, prac­tic­ing with her hula hoops.

The Ir­ish woman knows she has to work harder than her Chi­nese peers to be­come a suc­cess­ful acro­bat.

Doolin, 27, is the old­est stu­dent at the ac­ro­bat­ics school in Wuqiao county, He­bei prov­ince, known as the Chi­nese “home­town of ac­ro­bat­ics”. Her class­mates range in age from 7 to 16.

“Be­ing a per­former has al­ways been my dream, so it’s never been too late to re­al­ize it,” she said.

Doolin is the youngest of four sib­lings. She pre­vi­ously worked as a hair­dresser in Dublin.

“Work­ing at the same place and do­ing the same thing all year long was dull,” she said, say­ing that she longed for a job where she could travel.

At the age of 22, she saw a hula hoop per­for­mance at a mu­sic fes­ti­val which reignited her dream to be­come a per­former.

“I just fell in love with it, and de­cided to be­come a per­former,” she said.

Ini­tially her mother did not sup­port her de­ci­sion, partly be­cause she wor­ried her daugh­ter was too old to learn and may get in­jured.

But Doolin in­sisted. She quit her hair­dress­ing job and for two years, she stud­ied with the per­former she met at the mu­sic fes­ti­val.

“When my mother saw my show on stage for the first time, she fi­nally agreed,” she said.

As she was older than most en­try-level ac­ro­bats, Doolin was not ac­cepted at Eu­ro­pean ac­ro­batic schools, which re­quire years of ex­pe­ri­ence.

So she searched the in­ter­net and reg­is­tered at a the­ater school in Bei­jing in 2015.

“I know China is the best for ac­ro­bat­ics, so I chose to come here.”

She stud­ied in Bei­jing for eight months be­fore a friend who had been to Wuqiao in­tro­duced her to the town’s school.

Doolin ran out of sav­ings and she re­turned to Eu­rope, per­form­ing in ho­tels and the­aters for five months. She saved enough for the 30,000 yuan

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