For Chinese acrobat Deng Bo Yao it’s all in the Balance

Balancing at the top of eight chairs stacked seven metres high would be scary for the average person who isn’t used to spending time at such great heights. As it turns out, it can be scary for professional acrobats as well.

Chinese acrobat Deng Bo Yao was afraid of heights for years before conquering his fear. He is in Sydney for the Australian premiere of the latest show from international circus troupe, Cirque du Soleil, where he will perform his balancing act on top of a tower of chairs. Achieving this human feat though took many years of practice.

Bo already had the handstand skills needed for this elaborate performance, but was initially very nervous about having to do balancing tricks so high off the ground.

“I’d just set up the eight chairs and stand up there for about an hour, and do nothing,” says Bo.

Getting used to the movement of the chairs, he slowly overcame his anxiety about falling straight to the ground. Nowadays, other than in rehearsals he doesn’t even wear a harness.

By focusing on performing the tricks, he somehow manages to forget about the height.

“You’re just telling yourself you can do it,” says Bo.

After years of practice, his act is so flawless that many people accuse him of using magnets in the chairs to keep them stable.


Bo began training in acrobat sports at the age of six in his hometown of Huainan.

At the time he had no choice in the matter. His father was interested in sports, and strongly encouraged Bo to get involved.

Once he began he felt like he couldn’t quit because “my father would kick my ass,” he says jokingly.

These days Bo couldn’t imagine doing anything else, and credits his family for being the key to his success.

Bo never dreamed he would have a job where he would be travelling the world.

At 12 years old, Bo joined Anqing company in China, where only 15 children were selected for professional acrobat training. Here he learnt the techniques of hand to hand, head balancing, straps and Chinese pole. Bo eventually moved to Shenyang company where he trained in Chinese chair balancing.

By the end of 2007, the world-famous Cirque du Soleil company contacted Bo to audition in San Francisco where their show KOOZA was performing. They were amazed at his level and skill and offered him a position with the team. He has been with the company for almost nine years now.

“I’m very proud I’m working here,” says Bo.


As a professional acrobat, Bo performs between nine to ten shows a week.

“We always need to keep [up] the energy. It always has to be at 100 per cent,” says Bo.

One of the main ways he stays in peak physical condition is by eating only about 70 per cent of what he actually feels like eating.

Weighing only 54 kilograms, Bo tries to keep his stomach slightly empty so he won’t be at risk of putting on any weight, as even two or three extra kilos will affect him straight away. He doesn’t avoid any foods though, enjoying everything in moderation.

On the odd occasion he even indulges in a beer or two.


This is Cirque du Soleil’s eighth tour of Australia, although it is only Bo’s first visit. He has brought along his wife and two children to accompany him on his trip, which will last until mid 2017.

The show KOOZA is a combination of the circus traditions of acrobatic performance and the art of clowning, showcasing the physical mastery of the human body.

When he and his family eventually return to China permanently in the distant future, he would love to pass on all the knowledge he has accumulated over the years and become a coach.

Being an acrobat is the only job he’s ever known however, and hopes to do it for many years to come.

“For me, I have the best job in the world.”

{ SOURCE: Australian Plus | }