All I wanted to do was to test out my latest analogue camera purchase. I simply did not expect to be blown away by China’s Guangxi Youth Troupe’s performance.
Truth be told, I didn’t know much about the Guangxi Youth Troupe’s award winning performance beforehand. I just wanted to test if the Olympus PEN EE-2 camera that I just bought worked. Having seen her sister act, the Nantong Youth Acrobatic Troupe performance only a few days ago, I thought this was a good opportunity to test out my camera. Little did I know that the performance, which I was about to watch, would give me goose bumps!
The Guangxi Youth Troupe was the second troupe to perform at Singapore’s Raffles City Shopping Centre as part of its “Spring in the City” Lunar New Year celebrations. This time, I went much earlier than before to get a better vantage point. And it was a good thing that I did too. 20 minutes before the show started, the performers arrived. Within minutes, a group of girls wearing roller-skates appeared on stage and climbed onto the small round platform to do their warm-ups. Their sudden appearance and warm-up routine caught the assembled photogs off guard. But it took only a moment for them to fire off a fury of shots. The distinctive mirror-slaps were unmistakable.
Other performers began to prepare for the show by doing some warm-up back flips and somersaults off stage.
I, on the other hand, was armed with a thumbwheel powered 28mm half frame camera, loaded with a roll of ISO 400-36 film. This meant that I only had 72 opportunities to capture what I saw on film. 72 frames may sound like a lot, but it’s not when you’re shooting action.
Before I knew it, I had already shot 50 frames, which meant that for the rest of the roll, I had to be frugal and put into practice what I read about the decisive moment approach. Luckily, the Olympus PEN EE-2 camera is a 28mm fixed focused camera, which meant I could concentrate on composition and getting the shot. I didn’t have to worry about fiddling with the camera and missing the shot.
The performance was extremely well choreographed, which is a trademark of the Chinese. Yes, I’ve seen some of these acts before, but not performed ‘live’ by youths no more than 18 years old! I was impressed by their physical strength and stamina.
Here’s a particular performance that stood out not just because of the strength, skill level involved but also these performers looked like two sets of triplets to me!
I had goosebumps watching this performance. But I was also on tenterhooks after the show as I was worried that my latest camera acquisition was faulty and did not capture the performance. Well, you could imagine my relief when I ripped open the photolab’s envelope containing my negatives to find not 72 but 79 well exposed photos!