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Fun and healthy: Festival displays magic power of diabolo

2019/5/8 10:50:08   source:CGTN

More than 4,700 diabolo amateurs from across the world attended an international diabolo festival in Baoding, North China's Hebei Province as it kicked off on Monday.

Running into its tenth round, the three-day festival attracted more than 390 teams from home and abroad, including from countries such as the United States, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Canada.

The festival is scheduled to hold competitions of individual and team diabolo performances, and other events such as exchanges of the skills between players and diabolo sales exhibition.

A 25-year-old Canadian competitor, named Alexander, told China News Agency that he spent seven years teaching himself diabolo since he accidentally knew it online.

A Chinese intangible cultural heritage

Diabolo, or Kong Zhu in Chinese, originated in China at least 600 years ago. The manufacturing method and playing techniques of diabolo are well recorded in the book “Dijing Jingwulue,” literally "Survey of Scenery and Monuments in the Imperial Capital."

As its Chinese name suggests, Kong Zhu, literally "shallow bamboo," is traditionally made of bamboo. It consists of a short axel with a round cup on either end or two cups on both ends, and a string connecting the two hand sticks. Mouthpieces are carved in the cup(s), so that when playing it, the diabolo will whistle.

An advanced player can play a diabolo with tricks or control several diabolos simultaneously. For its artistic and entertaining effect, the folk sports equipment is also used in the circus as a juggling prop, and in turn, its techniques further develop in diversity and difficulty.

Playing diabolo requires the coordination of one's four limbs and cooperation of team members, so it builds up one's body and brain.

Although beneficial for the health, the old sports witnesses weakening popularity and the difficulty of sustaining its culture with the change of people's lifestyles. In 2006, it was inscribed on Chinese intangible cultural heritage list.

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