STILT walker Eddi Raglus has returned from a mind blowing trip to China where she was one of thousands of performers from all over the world who took part in a Chinese New Year Parade in Hong Kong.
The year 11 Wingham High School student’s world class stilt walking skills saw her receive an invitation to take part in the enormous international event. Eddi’s mum Jill Watkins, director and choreographer of the circus troupe Circartus, was first asked by a Sydney circus company to stage manage the contingency from Australia and New Zealand.
Eddi has been circus performing since she was a young child. Her mum ran circus schools in Gunnedah before they moved to Wingham so she has grown up watching and learning the fascinating craft.
Her repertoire of tricks includes juggling, hoola hoop, diablo and rolla bowler to name a few.
The New Year parade made it along the streets of Hong Kong for an hour-and-a-half with stations throughout the route where the troupe performed for the lively crowd.
Eddi wore a large elaborate flower costume which required her to hold her arms out wide for the entire parade.
Her stilts were a metre high which gave her a spectacular view of the thousands in the crowd and the rest of the parade.
“The parade was amazing to be a part of. There was an incredible amount of people,” she said.
Although a marathon performance, Eddi said the fact the audience was so energised helped her get to the end.
“As soon as I finished I was exhausted,” she said.
After the main New Year Parade the troupe performed at a number of events in Hong Kong and a village festival in the mountains.
The 30 strong troupe comprised gifted performers between the ages of 15 and around 50.
Eddi relished the opportunity to experience another culture and said the contrasts in China are stark.
“The contrasts are really amazing. There will be a rundown building next to a massive high rise, upper class building.
“The city is so massive, but confined to such a small space.
Being part of something that big was like it was a different world,” she said.
“It was amazing to be part of a group of performers from all around the world. It was like being in a dream.”
Eddi said the main difference between Australia’s New Year and China’s, apart from the time of year, is it’s more about being with family and celebrating culture.