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Deng Baojin

Time:2008-10-16   Source:

Deng Baojin, the youngest winner of the Variety Show Award, began to learn acrobatics at an age much older than other artists. Chinese acrobats generally enter training at the age between six to seven. Deng was born into a family of folk artists. Her grandfather, Deng Jiuru, was a master of Shandong Qinshu (storytelling mainly in singing with musical accompaniment). In spite of growing up in a family of folk artists, Deng was not exposed to the art of acrobatics until 1972 when she applied for admission as a trainee at the Jinan Acrobatic Troupe at the age of 14. She was somewhat too old to apply for the position and thus opinions concerning her admission were divided. However, the chief examiner believed in her potential and made an exception.

Juggling Benches with the Feet by the Shandong Acrobatic Troupe

She trained hard under teachers from the Jinan Acrobatic Troupe, with training sessions often lasting 15 hours per day. Teachers and other trainees all marveled at the progress she made in a little more than one year. She made her successful debut in a performance of Handstands on Stacked Chairs and became the first of the troupe’s trainees to appear on the stage. In 1976, teachers recommended her as a member of the acrobatic troupe representing Shandong at the largest acrobatic festival sponsored by the Ministry of Culture since the founding of the People’s Republic. The goal of the festival was to provide opportunities for acrobats from different parts of the country to show their talents and learn from each other, as well as to summarize experiences and promote the development of acrobatics. Deng attended the festival and not only performed Handstands on Stacked Chairs, but also performed together with her colleagues the routine Handstands on Poles and other stunts on chairs balanced in different configurations.

Deng and her colleagues participated in the First National Acrobatic Competition sponsored by the Ministry of Culture in 1984 and won a silver medal for their presentation of Juggling Benches with the Feet, an item choreographed by Bi Changjiang. Their achievement was the best in history recorded by Jinan acrobats performing in national acrobatic competition. Deng also performed the same year in Beijing to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. In 1986 and 1987, Deng and her colleagues won respective gold medals for their Juggling Benches with the Feet performed at the 11th Circus World Championships in London and the Festival Mondial du Cirpue de Demain in Paris. Their achievements brought credit to China.

Deng Baojin has won acclaim with performances in more than 20 countries. The foreign mass media has praised her performances and cited her as a world-class artist. Public figures in various countries have offered liberal compensation packages in attempts to convince Deng to remain in their nations. However, according to Deng, "I was nurtured by China. I feel proud to win honors and must continue to serve my motherland." Deng has been selected as a national model worker, an exemplary literary and art worker and a March Eighth red-banner pacesetter. She has also won the May Day Labor Medal and many titles of honor presented by the Shandong provincial government and Jinan municipal government. Following Xia Juhua and Yang Xiaoting, she was elected as a deputy to the National People’s Congress in 1998.