YouTube user avroraagata1 has uploaded a whole mess of videos of the 22nd World Championships in Acrobatic Gymnastics. I think I'm going to take the time to watch ALL of them, but here are a few gold winners that you should watch, if you're going to watch any of these videos.

Women's Group Gold - Russia

Why don't we start by tossing this child into a 2 1/2 front and catch her in a basket hold? Brilliant!

Mixed Pair Gold - USA

Men's Pair Gold - Great Britain

Edit: The videos keep coming!!! Look at this one!

I usually can't stand poi. It takes some pretty exceptional work to grab my attention. This guy does it right; it blows my mind and he doesn't even do any of it lit.

This duo does some seriously dangerous stuff all on fire. That's some real trust right there. You know they really put in the hours for that, you can see them doing some really technical experiments in this video too.

Awesome vantage point with some really great super-slow-mo bits.

Circus School

Originally found at this documentary from Shanghai Circus School follows the training of a flying act (specifically, a copy of the Moranbong flying act) and a handbalancer - with 9 and 8 year olds.

I bet these kids don't even understand the caliber of the tricks they're doing - at a fraction of the age of the majority of professional performers.

I'm familiar with a toned-down version of the infamous Chinese discipline. It's rough, it's cold and it's emotionally overwhelming - but it works.

Here's a little video I put together on the 11 hour train ride back from Montreal. It's a chronicle of the setup of the TSNY Governor's Island rig. When we set up this rig, I put my camera in one place and every so often ran over and took 3 sequential pictures. Stitching them all together, it makes for a stop-motion type video.

It took us from 6am to 3pm to finish this much. It really makes me admire the people that can erect one of these in 4 hours for a traveling show.

Montreal is a pretty amazing city. Last time I was there, it was March. It snowed. It was terribly cold. I was confused and alone in a big French-speaking city.

This time around my opinion of the town has changed quite a bit, thanks in part to a circus festival, some awesome weather, and a super cute traveling companion to share it with.

This year marks the first ever Montréal Complètement Cirque, a circus festival organized by La TOHU, a nonprofit that in part aims to put Montreal on the radar not just as a home to high-quality circus arts but also an international circus destination. Though the roster is primarily Quebecois circus groups, they also summoned shows from Belgium, Australia, Germany, Wales, and Spain.

We only stayed for one week of the festival (which goes for most of July), we saw four shows: Cirque du Soleil's Totem, Eloize's iD, 7 doigts' Cabaret, and Ea Eo's M2 - which is more circus than I usually get in a year. It was a pretty excellent, very inspiring experience.

Following this there will be four posts - one for each show!

Remember how I was complaining about teasers 4 weeks ago? Here's what he came out with. It's ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. Kind of like Vellu in the tricking scene: this eastern European kid comes out and just bursts the difficulty bubble with one bonkers video. He's surprisingly well rounded - he shows off some trampoline, tumbling, tricking, and he even does air flares. Seems like the kind of guy who could learn anything in a couple of tries.

Nice hair too.

Sorry I've been lacking in posts. I'm in Montreal right now, seeing some incredible stuff. Greg Kennedy is amazing, but put him in a Cirque du Soleil production and it reaches a whole new level.

Maybe I'll write up some reviews of the shows I'm seeing here. Stay tuned!

Risk is what makes performance admirable, entertaining and compelling. Any performer places themself in the lion's den the moment they step on stage.

Circus is special because of the absolutely absurd amount of risk that any given act involves. With seven objects in the air, the audience is absolutely terrified that one will fall. As the wire walker teeters 30 feet in the air, the audience clenches their knuckles white at the possibility that he might plummet to his fate.

...And these things happen. But as the age-old saying goes: the show must go on.

This video shows some absolutely harrowing spills. In a venue like Monte Carlo, performers are expected to show their very best, even if it doesn't go according to plan. That's why I love this - each performer recovers, does the trick again, and nails it. Even if they have to do it twice.

I was showing this to a friend and he asked me if it made me think about what I do. I thought about it for a moment, and then replied it doesn't make the think about what I do so much as how I do it. Only by endless repetition and total concentration are these feats possible. If I stopped to worry about how dangerous a trick was while I was doing it, I'd already be well on my way to an injury or even worse.

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