A life of balance

China Daily | Updated: 2023-08-21 09:23
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Li and Lei perform on a 260-meter-long steel wire across the Juda Canyon. ZHANG YOUQIONG/WANG JUNTAO/CHEN KAIJIN/YE QIHAN/FOR CHINA DAILY

Wire walking couple make a living performing high above Juda Canyon

Hidden deep in Dabu town in Ruyuan Yao autonomous county, Guangdong province, Juda (Massive) Canyon stretches 15 kilometers with 300-meter-high cliffs jutting out on both sides.

At the Juda Canyon scenic area, a thin steel wire hangs above the gorge, and on that wire, a thrilling high-altitude performance takes place nearly every day.

Li Guanghui, 39, is the oldest "master" in a troupe of wire walkers. From solo wire walking performances to duo shows with his wife, he has made the act a highlight of the scenic area.

Usually accompanied with music, his wife, Lei Xiaoying, takes the stage first, riding a unicycle across the steel wire as she gracefully performs tricks with a flower basket.

Then Li steps onto the wire, holding a pole for balance.

Sometimes, they stop on the wire together. Li performs difficult maneuvers such as backbends and pushups. Then they continue walking forward in rhythm. The thin wire sways, making everyone hold their breath.

They perform five times a day, walking the 260-meter-long "path" each time.

"I came here in 2005 when I was only 21 years old," Li said with a smile as he explained how he got started in his career.

He joked that it was purely out of curiosity. To his surprise, he rapidly became one of the troupe's more talented performers.

He was soon assigned to perform in Ruyuan. He later met Lei, and the two began performing as a duo.

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