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Hoop Diving
Adagio Quatuor
Cyr Wheel &
Fútbol Freestyle
Pole Dance
360° Swing
Aerial Straps
Russian Swings
Fiesta Finale

Artistic Bicycle
Hair Hanging





Hand Balancing on Canes

The Golden Age of Mexican cinema extended from the mid 1930s to the early 1960s. The romantic drama and the revolutionary drama propelled this industry into the stratosphere, invading cinemas across Latin and North America. With its robust star system, its wealth of talented directors and filmmakers, and world-class infrastructure, filmmaking helped Mexico to shine throughout the Hispanic world and beyond. Here, a lifeguard struts about on a buoy among the waves in a tribute this time to Mexican cinema of the 1920s. He gradually builds two rows of flexible canes on top of his buoy. Under the command of an overzealous film director, the artist performs a series of figures, sometimes balancing on one hand, sometimes doing push-ups, sometimes holding an iron cross position, all the while flaunting his great physical strength. He builds his tottering structure to an impressive 6 meters (close to 20 feet) above the stage.

"Ugo, listo? La señorita lista?" "Lista."
"Todos listos?" "¡Listos!" (Ready!)

The primal lure of the sea resonates in Mexico, a country mostly surrounded by water. So it is no wonder the sea and costal life are so deeply embedded in the collective consciousness of its people. The sea is also laden with metaphor and allusion – anytime we head to the sea, are we not, in a sense, going back to where we came from? In a humorous nod to the golden age of Mexican cinema, Ugo Laffolay performs a playfulhand-balancing routine among pasteboard waves that evokes the inexpensive and flimsy film sets of the 1940’s and 1950’s. And he’s a riot!

In this film, Ugo is a salvavidas, and not only does he play his starring role in one of these cheeseball movies with glee (swishing his moustache back and forth to flirt with the ladies, and in flexing his pecks in time to the music), he balances on his ever precarious tower of canes (a one-arm handstand in straddle, one-arm handstand straight, side flag in straddle, side flag tuck, and Mexican handstand varieties anyone?) with relative ease. That is until he is forced by his “director” to do a full arm and then leg split between the canes, bowing them out to exaggerated proportions, that you see him huff and puff. But he pulls it off with such grace and charm. (*swish-swish, eyebrow-eyebrow*)

At first this scene appears rather jarring and out of context: the staging comes across as cheapand uninspiring, the costumes are all over the place (Ugo wears a red jumpsuit while the beachgoers wear mirrored one-piece swimsuits), the music is, well, strange. And to top it all off our journeyman clown wends his way through the scene like a lost puppy, making fun of everything he sees (much to the chagrin of the director - ¡cortar!) But a word of advice: just sit back, relax, and enjoy. You may not like what you see at first (I didn’t, but not because of the performer or his skill – that was never in question), but once you realize the scene is supposed to be tacky and tawdry, I promise you’ll fall in love with it. The music too... I mean, how could you not? It’s fun and flirtatious, and a little bit off its rocker. But that’s what makes it great! (Keep an eye out for the zany beachgoers as they re-create a synchronized water wheel, standing up!)

"¡Cámara! ¡Acción!"


• "Pez Volador"

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