By Jim Callicott
Robin McCosh has fond memories of the Smoky Mountain Palace in Sevierville. When it was known as the Governor’s Palace, her Seymour High School senior class choose the venue for their graduation ceremony.
There are more fond memories for Robin as she and husband Jeremy attended the Cirque de Chine performance last week. Robin works for a bank in Seymour and has overheard customers talking about the show.
“It is a fantastic show,” Robin explained, “the motorcycles are probably our favorite act but the two little girls in the contortion act were really eye catching.”
Those two little girls are Tao Xi Lin and Jiao Lu Yong. Those non-Chinese speaking among us are happy they adopted the American names of Annie and Mini. Tao Xi Lin chose Annie because she likes the sound of the name and Jiao Lu Yong settled on Mini because she is a little on the small size.
Annie and Mini are two of the most popular performers at Cirque de Chine, not only because they are outstanding acrobats, but they are just so darn cute. They are also the two youngest players with the troupe.
The girls have been together for the past 8 years, having met in the acrobat’s training school. Both left home and entered the school when they were 4 years old. They have bonded through the years and consider themselves as sisters. Even when they aren’t performing and are at home in Chongqing, China, the girls are together everyday. The entire troupe looks at them as their little sisters.
Acrobatic school wasn’t easy as most waking hours are spent in practice. The girls spent two years learning the basics of acrobats and another year indulged in the actual acts of the performance. It wasn’t until the fourth year that they were allowed to actually perform. In classification, they are still considered as students.
Although both are in several acts at Cirque de Chine, one of their favorite things is to be Panda Bears. The first thing one sees when entering the theater before showtime is one or two Panda Bears running around the lobby. That’s our girls and they are like a magnet to young children and also the young at heart. They also captured the Smokies Baseball team when, at the stadium for a pre-game performance, they wandered into the outfield and involved themselves in pre-game activities.
The girls have enjoyed their first stay in America and hope to return, but for now they are looking forward to the end of the season so they can return to Chongqing and “Eat all the good foods we have missed.”
Memories are made of this
By Jim Callicott