France and China 2009

18 August 2009

Hello. Time is running and the winter season is starting soon (here in Europe).

Among our recent shows were the National FFAP’s Congress (former AFAP, the French National Magic Federation) and the Shenzhen’s Magic Festival in China.

The city of Vannes hosted this year the French magic congress. The Palais des Arts, recently remodeled, was perfect for that congress; the organizing committee had done a very good job and was putting everything in a good mood. The weather was superb and sunny. Who says that it is always raining in the Bretagne?

An excellent magic exhibition with invaluable documents had been already presented to the general public before the congress. Stefane Laurens was the main organizer of that exhibition.

As usual, when we are booked to appear in the main stage show, we were very busy to prepare our work so we had, unfortunately, to miss quite a lot of the activities offered to the participants. Nevertheless we had many cheerful meetings with friends and colleagues of long standing.

From end of September to early October, we were once more back in China. Each year, for the National Chinese Holiday, many festivities are organized all over the country. So, the Happy Valley Parks (they are now 4 parks under this name in China) organize International Magic Festivals, including one at the Shenzhen’s Happy Valley Park.

30 years ago, Shenzhen was a fishermen’s village, just “behind” Hong Kong, the huge financial and commercial crossroads. Nowadays, Shenzhen is a “special economic area”, a metropolis of 10 million inhabitants with huge industrial and commercial development and an incredible harbor. In addition to those activities, they are, among other activities, 4 amusement parks.

Happy Valley is the biggest one. In 2009, the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China is celebrated. It is also the 10th International Magic Festival of the Happy Valley Park and the 1st Magic Competition. The Park wants to see this competition becoming internationally important. It is already under the FISM’s aegis (the FISM being the international organization of the world’s magic associations) and Eric ESWIN, its president, was actually present. (See the Photo Gallery.)

The International Magic Festival was an excellent show, presented in the biggest theater in the Park: Jorgos KATSAROS (Germany), Jeff McBRIDE (U.S.A.), Omar PASHA (France), RUXIAN (China), SERGUEY & OKSANA (Russia), with Richard MO (Hong Kong) as host.

The competition has been of an unequal level. The magicians taking part to the Festival were jury’s members.

The first prize went to the young Chinese LIU BEI (mainly cards manipulation). If she keeps going, you will remember from her at the next FISM competition in Blackpool.

ANDREAS AXMAN (Germany) an act with video and JEREMY PEI (Singapore) rings, canes, etc, have shared the second price.

Third place was shared by JO YONG HO (South Korea) parasols, LI XINGQI (Hong Kong) doves and ZULI & AIHEMAI (China) manipulation, illusions and costumes’ changes.

All the award winners have real true skills in various fields. They should be seen in other places.

We can also point to 2 shows we have seen: The show permanently shown at the main theater at Happy Valley Park is a nice “extravaganza” with about 100 artists and very different scenes, like modeling, Beijing Opera, etc. There is an important stage machinery, costumes’ galore, dancers, acrobats, various acts, etc.

At the neighboring park “Window of the World”, a brand new show wants clearly to compete with the greatest extravaganzas in the world, in a huge open air theater: all possible technical means, huge stage settings, a large turning stage, top lightings and sound, about 200 artists, Egyptian chariots parade, long and high podium appearing suddenly with tenth of dancers in the middle of the audience whose seats just have moved to the side, etc. Only the acts were not top level.

They are real storyboards for each scene: Egyptian scene, Cinderella (ballet with sumptuous costumes and on rollerblades), Esmeralda (the Notre-Dame cathedral from Paris, Quasimodo, nuns’ ballet, “Cour des Miracles” and many more), and the Second World War in Russia (very “Soviet” style ballet) and in England (London under the bombardments). In short, an amazing and explosive show.

See the Photo Gallery.

Among our projects: Until March 2010 included, all sorts of shows in France, including “Christmas shows” in December and magic or variety festivals. Also, shows in Germany and a series of shows from Christmas to the New Year in Roermond, Netherlands: a circus show on stage with one magic act by contrast, Omar Pasha. We had previously worked in similar shows in Utrecht and Breda.