By Jim Callicott
“I think we found the perfect place for our home,” said Lori Pendleton. The Pendleton’s recently purchased 10 acres of land on the outskirts of Seymour and will soon call the area home.
A permanent home sounds good to Lori. Her dad was in government service so the family was constantly moving across the USA. Husband Matt, on the other hand, hasn’t wandered too far from his hometown of Kingsport.
Matt is well known and respected in the area having served as a police officer, first in Gatlinburg and then the last 10 years in Pigeon Forge. Lori retired from the banking business to become a stay at home mom for Lucas, age 10, and Anna, 8.
Their realtor, Michelle Karl, was singing the merits of Cirque de Chine in Sevierville after the closing and spiked the Pendleton’s interest in seeing the latest addition of the show.
“All I can say is wow,” said Lori.
“This is truly a wonderful performance.” Matt said. “We saw the show a couple of years ago and we are amazed now as we were then at how the acrobats can perform these almost impossible acts.”
The Pendleton’s had the pleasure of meeting one of the acrobats, Ma Xiao Jing, after a recent performance.
Ma Xiao Jing’s career as an acrobat almost didn’t happen. She didn’t begin her acrobatic training until she was 13 years old, about 6 or 7 years older than the typical age when most acrobats begin their training.
Being that much older, it was harder for her to learn the acts. She had to condition her bones and muscles to adjust to the stress and develop a weight training routine to strengthen her waist in order to support the other girls on her shoulders.
All the training and conditioning she endured paid off and she now performs in every female act in the show except one. Multiple performances means multiple costume changes; she makes five during the show. She can laugh about it now, but when she first began performing she occasionally put on the wrong costume for the act.
Being a performer in multiple acts also leads to more practice to keep her skills at a high level. Presently she practices 7 hours a day plus the two hour show. Like the other acrobats, she is constantly learning new acts.
Ma Xiao Jing says the hardest part of becoming an acrobat is getting started. She should know considering her late beginning. It takes a lot of desire, discipline and determination to reach the top of her profession. Why do it?
“I love the applause and to please the audience,” she said. She certainly deserves a round of applause for her dedication.
Acrobat demonstrates arresting performance
By Jim Callicott