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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Never mind the Oscars

North Korea may be a ‘failed state’ in other ways but it is definitely a ‘circus power’. At the Monte Carlo International Circus Festival last week the P’yôngyang circus carried away a ‘Golden Clown’ for their aerial work, one of two top prizes in what is apparently the world's top circus festival. This blogger has posted a picture of the team smiling away with Monte Carlan monarchy. Here is how KCNA saw the event:

Best Prize Awarded to DPRK's Aerial Stunt

Pyongyang, January 29 (KCNA) -- An aerial stunt "Diverse Flight" presented by the Pyongyang Circus was highly appreciated as the best performance at the 29th Monte Carlo International Circus Festival held in Monaco to receive the gold prize, the best prize, on Jan. 25. Acrobats of the Pyongyang Circus flawlessly performed high technical movements, thus emerging the only group to get the full mark of 120 points from the festival jury.
The festival drew at least 150 excellent acrobats from 14 countries including China, Russia, Ukraine, Germany, France and Britain who presented 40 circus pieces.
The aerial stunt completely enchanted the festival jury and the spectators and created a great sensation in every performance.
A director of the festival organizing committee said that "Diverse Flight" is a great masterpiece as it represents the acme of aerial acrobatics.
It is something unbelievable to perform at one time such difficult movements as quadruple pirouette in the air and treble flip-flap with a simultaneous pirouette from a mental and physical point of view, he noted.
The director of an international circus company in Netherlands said that the aerial stunts of Europe have not yet gotten rid of the old framework but new aerial stunts are being created and performed in the DPRK. Its acrobats are the best ones in the world, he noted.
The chairman of the European Circus Association who is a member of the festival jury praised the DPRK as a circus power, saying that the more he watches "Diverse Flight" the more it looks fantastic.
The head of a Chinese circus who is a member of the festival jury said that the DPRK's aerial stunt is something beyond human imagination. It is a pity that I cannot find other word than fascinating, he added.

So there you have it. I’ve heard that Korea actually has quite a long history of circusing going back to the Japanese colonial era (1910-1945) and this tradition has been kept alive mainly in the North. I’d be fascinated to know more about this history, but I think I’ll have to save that research for another time.


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