Pyongyang stages biggest magic show ever

Updated: 2011-04-19 10:04


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PYONGYANG - Amid a burst of fireworks and a haze of smoke, a burly showman in a white sequined suit and gold lame cape appears with a flourish. Over the next 45 minutes, he appears to make a Pyongyang bus levitate and wriggles free from a box sent crashing to the stage through a ring of fire.

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This is magic Pyongyang-style performed in a show touted as the country's biggest ever and mounted in a city where good, old-fashioned illusion, a dancing bear and a dose of slapstick comedy can still command the biggest crowds of the year.

The country's love for magic is a legacy of the circus traditions they inherited decades ago, during an era of Soviet influence.

Kim Il-sung, founder of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea ordered the creation of the Pyongyang Circus in 1952 in the middle of the Korean War. The tradition of highly technical stagecraft - including the Arirang mass games, where 100,000 performers move in sync in a feat that has come to embody North Korean discipline and regimentation - still dazzles in a country where high-tech entertainment is scarce.

Pyongyang stages biggest magic show ever
In this October 23, 2010 file photo, performers take part in the Arirang mass games in Pyongyang. [Photo/Xinhua]



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