Monday, April 26, 2010

the art of communication

Jim Callicott                   SeanWoods, Fan Lang, Christy Woods and son Braden.

Sean and Christy Woods follow the stereotype of many Sevier County residents; they lived somewhere else and vacationed in the Smokies. As residents of Ocala, Florida, they would endure the 580 mile trek from Ocala to the beauty of the Smokies for relaxation and to unwind from the daily grind. Finally, they decided Seymour would be the ideal place to live.

They sold their home in Florida and, with no job or place to live, arrived in Seymour to begin their new life. Sean had been employed with Cingular wireless in Ocala and the first place he interviewed was with A T & T Cellular. He was hired and has been the store manager in the Food City Shopping Center the last four years.

Sean and Christy work together and, with son Braden, love to tube and swim. Braden states fishing will be the next project.  The family recently took a well deserved break to attend Cirque de Chine in Sevierville upon recommendation from a friend.

“It was an awesome show,” said Christy. “I had no idea there was a performance of this caliber in Tennessee.” One young acrobat caught the Woods eye and they met her after the show. The name is Fan Lang and, “Her talent is almost unbelievable,” said Christy.

Fan Lang is also knowledgeable about communication but on a different level; “I want to communicate to the audience the beauty of acrobats but I want the audience to express their approval by clapping, yelling and making much noise.”

Fan Lang began her career as an acrobat when she was 11 years old, a pretty late start for an acrobat when most performers began studying acrobatics when they are 4 or 5 years old. Fan Lang’s dedication and ability to learn quickly made up for the lost years in training.

Fan Lang performs Mouth Balancing, Drum Kicking and the Shooting Star Act, her favorite, in addition to Tumbling. The Mouth Balancing act is the most difficult as the acrobat has to maintain a wooden holder in her mouth as a balancing stick is placed in a recessed round indention in the end of the holder. The balancing stick varies in size but usually is about five feet long with a bulb on the upper end. The stick weight varies but can weigh up to five pounds.

To increase muscle strength around the mouth, Fan Lang and the other performers have used special mouth weights while practicing or they would hold the balancing apparatus in their mouth for an hour at a time, several times a day.

Fan Lang has performed across China, in Australia and now, for the first time, in the USA. Despite the rigorous training, she loves her life as an acrobat; an act of love that she readily communicates to the audience.

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