A diabolo is nothing more than two hollow cones, two sticks and a piece of string. Yet in parks and on the streets this “Chinese yoyo”, as it’s spun, swung and tossed in the air, can keep onlookers mesmerized. In the hands of a master, it can even generate a sound, sometimes humming, sometimes musical. So, let’s learn about the diabolo from our guests.

Li Lianyuan is Beijing born and bred. He is a third generation inheritor of the intangible cultural heritage of the Beijing-style diabolo performance. His grandmother began teaching him the art when he was just five. Now 75, in the course of the past seven decades he has, by inventing several new and fascinating diabolo techniques, helped shape the development of the diabolo in the modern world. 

Zhang Guoliang is an inheritor of the national intangible cultural heritage of diabolo-making. He has spent many years researching the various techniques of his art, resulting in a series of highly individual types of diabolo. 

Liu Chenxi is a diabolo coach. His interest started with a chance encounter as a child. Over the past ten years, he has won numerous awards in diabolo competitions around the world. Today, he is one of China’s foremost teachers of the art. 

The China National Acrobatic Troupe has created a show called “Beautiful Flower Dan” combining diabolo with Peking Opera. In it, breathtaking diabolo skills are imbued with the elegance of Peking Opera. The show has given the diabolo the chance to shine on a world stage.

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