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La Nouba’s Diabolo Act: Chinese Yo-Yo

Category General

|by Melanie Curtsinger |


The young performers of La Nouba

The diabolos are flung high towards the almost endless ceiling of La Nouba’s custom-built theater with just enough air time for the young performers to flip, spin, and dance before the diabolos safely return to them. And they like to make it a close call to leave us on the edge.

La Nouba’s Diabolo Act: Chinese Yo-Yo - Orlando

The young performers of La Nouba’s Diabolo act.

During Cirque du Soleil La Nouba, you can expect to be dazzled by acts that include high-flying trapeze artists, cyclists performing BMX-worthy tricks, a balancing act and trampoline artists, among many others. But perhaps the most entertaining act, and always one of the biggest fan-favorites at the show, is the diabolos. Four pint-sized performers hold two sticks linked by a string in their hands, which is where the musical wooden spool, the diabolo, comes to life. For their entire act, the performers twirl, jump and fly through the air, even performing a human pyramid, all the while keeping their diabolos alive to the amazement of the crowd.

The diabolo, another word for the Chinese yo-yo, is a child's game that has evolved into an art form over the years. A large number of tricks are possible using the diabolo, many of which are performed in La Nouba, including throws, various types of spinning and interactions with the sticks, string and various body parts. The term “diabolo” was coined by French engineer Gustave Phillippart, who developed the modern diabolo in the early 20th century and derived the name from the Greek dia bolo, roughly meaning 'across throw.'

La Nouba isn’t the only Cirque du Soleil show to combine diabolos with acrobatics – this phenomenon is also featured in acts in four other shows: Quidam, Dralion, Ovo and Viva Elvis. But La Nouba’s diabolo act is in a category of its own, due to the exact precision, choreography, and the youth of all four performers. It will blow you away. Thanks in part to the popularity of this act in Cirque du Soleil shows, diabolos are also being sold as toys at many toy outlets in the United States, and they are also easily found online.

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