Acrobatic school gives African students a flying start

2013-11-8 16:21:00 From:

Anidi Oghenetejiro Omoghene gets a buzz while flying through the air as he performs his acrobatic moves on stage in front of an audience.

With performances ongoing at the 14th China Wuqiao International Festival in Shijiazhuang, north China's Hebei Province, the 18-year-old Nigerian, said, "At the very beginning, I found it was difficult to learn acrobatics. It becomes much easier through constant practice."

Omoghene and seven other Nigerian students, aged 14 to 18, arrived in the country in May to study acrobatics in Wuqiao County.

"The nature of acrobatics is to explore the limits of the human body," said Ma Shumin, a teacher at Wuqiao Acrobatic Art School. "African students have fairly good physical condition and relatively better balance and flexibility compared to their Chinese counterparts."

The students will stay at the school for one year. During that time, they will learn acrobatic skills and complete internships with two major troupes in Hebei, according to Ma.

The school has assigned professional trainers and Chinese language teachers to assist them in their daily lives.

The training is free and is a cooperative program between China and African countries.

Since 2002, the school has trained 300 overseas students from more than 20 African countries including Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana and Kenya among others, said Qi Zhiyi, executive vice president of the school.

Students have performed in front of Chinese and African politicians, Qi said.

The training also offers the students a career in acrobatics-related jobs when they go back to their countries.

Qi said over 200 of the 300 African graduates have performed in international shows while 40 other students have become trainers or acrobats in their countries' performance troupes.

Six graduates have opened acrobatic schools in their countries.

"Most of the African students come from poverty-stricken families but they have made money and changed their fate through acrobatics," Qi said.

Liu Feng'en, vice president of the school, said, "African students have developed a profound friendship with our school."

Omoghene told Xinhua, "We do not have acrobatic schools in my country, so I appreciate the opportunity. Though I am scheduled to study architecture in a university after going back to Nigeria, I will never give up acrobatics and will try my best to be a successful acrobat."

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