Di­a­bolo will wow the crowds

Central Leader - - NEWS - By KA­RINA ABA­DIA

A group of first gen­er­a­tion New Zealan­ders have found a novel way to con­nect with their Chi­nese roots.

Per­form­ing tricks with a jug­gling prop known as a di­a­bolo is not only heaps of fun but it’s also a real crowd pleaser, Auck­land Di­a­bolo Group mem­ber Tony Zhang says.

The tool de­vel­oped from the Chi­nese yo-yo and is made up of an axle and two cups or discs which you spin us­ing a string at­tached to sticks.

It’s be­come a pop­u­lar act with cir­cuses around the world and can be used to per­form hun­dreds of tricks, which in­clude throws, var­i­ous types of spin­ning and in­ter­ac­tions with other per­form­ers.

Auck­land Gram­mar School stu­dents formed a di­a­bolo per­for­mance group sev­eral years ago, partly as a way for old boys to stay in touch af­ter grad­u­a­tion, Mr Zhang says.

The group of about 17 New Zealand-born Chi­nese mem­bers meet weekly to hone their skills and share their knowl­edge.

They started out by watch­ing in­struc­tional videos on YouTube, co-mem­ber Ming Yong says.

‘‘Then those who were re­ally into it taught oth­ers. We also make up tricks our­selves. You can be re­ally cre­ative with it.’’

The two Ep­som res­i­dents have per­formed at the Auck­land Lan­tern Fes­ti­val with other mem­bers for the past three years.

They also of­fer daily work­shops dur­ing the fes­ti­val.

Mr Zhang gets a kick out of wow­ing the crowds.

‘‘What’s re­ally cool for us is that not many people do [tricks with a di­a­bolo] in Auck­land so we’re quite unique.

‘‘It’s re­ally nice to be able to show off some­thing that’s part of our her­itage and cul­ture,’’ he says.

‘‘When people cheer for us on stage, it’s a good feel­ing,’’ Mr Yong says.

‘‘It gives me en­cour­age­ment to get bet­ter and show that you can re­ally do a lot of cool things with a di­a­bolo.’’

They have ramped up their prac­tice ses­sions to 10 hours a week over the past cou­ple of months in prepa­ra­tion for their 10 minute rou­tine at the fes­ti­val.

‘‘We’re ex­pect­ing a big crowd this year,’’ Mr Zhang says.

‘‘The fes­ti­val in gen­eral is huge ev­ery year. There’s just noth­ing like it.’’

Photo: KA­RINA ABA­DIA

– Proud per­former

Tony Zhang Im­pres­sive moves: Auck­land Di­a­bolo Group mem­bers Ming Yong and Tony Zhang will per­form with two oth­ers and give work­shops on how to do tricks with a di­a­bolo dur­ing Auck­land Lan­tern Fes­ti­val.

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