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Celebrating the Chinese New Year in style

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Patrons of the East Meadow Public Library and the Samanea New York Market, formerly the Source Mall in Westbury, celebrated the Chinese New Year on Jan. 26 with a performance from the renowned acrobat Li Liu.

“My life is a little bit different,” Li Liu explained to her audience before telling them about her disciplined background in acrobatics.

Hailing from Shenyang, in the northeast of China, Li Liu, who’s 52, began acrobatic training when she was 6 and would practice with her father Liu Gui Ting. The following year, she began attending the Chinese National Circus School in Beijing, where she would train for eight hours a day until she was 16.

She won a gold medal for her artistic cycling act in 1984 at the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in Paris, France. She and her sister Liu Ying usually teamed up and performed acts that were conceptualized by their father. In 1995, they performed a hand-balancing act at The Wu Qiao International Circus Festival and earned “The Golden Lion” prize.

Liu toured throughout Europe, Africa and Asia with the Liaoning Acrobatic Arts Troupe; Zirkus Knie in Switzerland; Circus Krone in Germany, and other in Italy, Holland, France, South Africa, Singapore, Japan and Indonesia.

In 2000, she came to the U.S. with Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus and toured the country for two years. Since 2003, she has been living in Naugatuck, Conn., and working as a freelance performer. She regularly appears at the NBA and WNBA half time circuits and is a featured performer on Princess Cruise Lines. In September 2010, she also appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman. 

Liu’s performance on Jan. 26 included balancing acts, plate spinning and Chinese New Year traditions, such as ribbon dancing and using a Chinese yo-yo.