Saturday, August 8 2020


Việt Nam’s circus is on the up

Update: June, 13/2018 - 09:00
People’s Artist Nguyễn Thị Tâm Chính, head of Việt Nam Circus Association.
Viet Nam News

Last week, acrobatic brothers Giang Quốc Cơ and Giang Quốc Nghiệp received a certificate of merit by the Việt Nam Culture, Sports and Tourism Minister Nguyễn Ngọc Thiện for their performance in Britain’s Got Talent 2018.

The acrobats performed a head-balancing act of walking across tiny platforms suspended high off the ground in the final of the British TV talent show early this month.

Head-balancing is developed from Sức Mạnh Đôi Tay (The Power of Arms) performed by Cơ and Nghiệp. The Power of Arms has been performed by the duo for more than a decade and made them popular in the country. It is among the repertoire of the HCM City Circus Troupe and has been showcased at many international circus festivals.

It has earned the acrobats several top prizes at home and abroad including at the Grand Prix Prize and the Audience Award at the International Summer Circus Festival in Havana, Cuba; as well as the silver medal at the 13th Latina Circus Festival in Italy and the New Creation title by the world’s leading circus groups Monte Carlo Circus and Cirque du Soleil.

The brothers become internationally known when they broke the world record for “most consecutive stairs climbed while balancing a person on the head” in Girona, Spain, in 2016, and then for their performance in Britain’s Got Talent 2018, held earlier this month. 

Alongside Cơ and Nghiệp many other talented Vietnamese circus artists have won awards at international festivals, but are not as popular in Việt Nam or abroad.  

Thanh Xuân interviews People’s Artist Nguyễn Thị Tâm Chính, head of the Việt Nam Circus Association about how Vietnamese circus performers take opportunities to promote their names and Vietnamese circus around the world.

What were your thoughts after seeing the head-balancing act by Quốc Cơ and Quốc Nghiệp?

I’m very proud of Vietnamese acrobats Quốc Cơ and Quốc Nghiệp. Vietnamese circus will become more popular in the world thanks to their performance at Britain’s Got Talent. I can say that when foreigners talk about Vietnamese circus they will talk about Quốc Cơ and Quốc Nghiệp.

Their head-balancing act is developed from their performance Sức Mạnh Đôi Tay which they have performed for many years now and has won them several top prizes at international festivals.

Vietnamese circus used to rely on an acrobat couple to perform this act, the performance was more difficult and require more strength. The female artist would support the male artist on her hands. After getting married the female artist switches to animal circus.

Cơ and Nghiệp are lucky to be popular with this performance.

Why has this performance made Cơ and Nghiệp popular?

They are masters of performance. Their performance art is much better than others. This is the point in circus art. With the same performance, some artists perform very well and charm the audience, but other artists cannot.

I agree with the comment saying that Cơ and Nghiệp are much more skillful with the head balancing act. Their movements are flexible and graceful. Plus, in their performance at the Britain’s Got Talent final show they use other elements, such as the soldier’s uniform and the áo dài which are very typical Vietnamese characteristics to foreigners. 

Whenever the acrobats perform in other countries they know how to combine their movement to suit the producers’ intention. In addition, Cơ and Nghiệp have other advantages such as their beautiful bodies; attractive performance style and good manners. All these things make them outstanding.

What is the average career length of a circus performer?

It depends on the kind of circus performance. Generally, circus artists cannot sustain a long career with one act. If Cơ and Nghiệp practise everyday and keep their strict menu then they will be able to perform head-balancing by the age of 40 or even 50. But the most important thing is that their passion and their enthusiasm, which will help them to keep their muscles.

What should Vietnamese acrobats do to gain success like Cơ and Nghiệp?

I think that circus artists should follow the brothers’ performance style and how they promote their image at international shows. Circus doesn’t only require skills and training, it also requires art. We need to question why Cơ and Nghiệp can do it; and how they made it. 

Vietnamese circus performers have won many top prizes at international festivals, but they sink into oblivion. Many people think that Vietnamese circus has come to a standstill. In fact, it has not. We have talented performers winning international awards. Last year, Ngọc Ánh and Thu Thủy from the Việt Nam Circus and Variety School won the top prize at the International Circus Festival Circuba in Cuba and Văn Thái and Thu Hường from the Việt Nam Circus Federation just won the silver medal at the 33rd Goldern Circus Festival in Italy. — VNS

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