Tightrope walking, or funambulism, is a spectacular proof of human capacities to maintain balance. It is also a proof of passion, courage and maybe a little insanity. Tightrope walking is an acrobatic art that implies walking along of a thin wire or rope at great heights.Eskil Rønningsbakken. Photo source: oa.no
The balance of the body is kept by positioning the center of mass above his feet. The high-wire walkers uses their feet in a position parallel with each other while walking. For a better stability it is often used a pole or the arms are stretched perpendicular with their body trunk.
When walking along a tensed wire between two points we deal with a tightwire. This tightrope walking type usually is done with the help of a balancing tool. Some tight-wire artists uses props in their acts or onto the wire. They increases the balance and they provide more entertainment value to their performance.
Nik Wallenda. Photo source: nydailynews
When the performance takes place outdoor at great heights as mountains, skyscrapers, gorges etc we deal with the skywalk type. Highwire type is very much as tight-wire, but takes place at a greater height. Generally this height is over twenty feet high.
Slackwire tightrope walking type is different from tight wire. A slack-wire performer moves his balance under his center of mass, not above. This way the tension of the wire is provided by the performer an the props he uses.
When nylon webbing is stretched tight, but not rigidly taut, between two points we should recognize the slacklining type. The line is very dynamic and it is stretching and bouncing like a trampoline. Jultagi is a specific tightrope walking type, part of Koreean traditional culture.
Breakers of records
All around the world there are many people passionate by tightrope walking . But only few succeed to break records and make history. Here are some of them:
Philippe Petit become very popular in 1974 when he walked across a wire, upwards of 1,300 feet, the space between New York City’s Twin Towers. His story become subject of documentary “Man on Wire”.
Philippe Petit. Photo source: wineandbowties
The Flying Wallenda family is a legend in hirewire acrobacy. A family of stunt performers worldwide accredited as the pioneers of the seven person pyramid.
The Flying Wallenda seven pyramid. Photo source: flickr
Today the grandchildren of the Wallendas, Nik Wallenda, keeps the legend alive. His last record was made last year as the first person to walk on a tightrope across the Niagara Falls.
Nik Wallenda over the Niagara falls. Photo source: nydailynews
Freddy Nock, a popular hire wire artist, made a great buzz with his latest feat. He walked about 5200 feet down a mountain cable wire. The most stunning thing was that he didn’t used a safety net or harness.
Freddy Nock . Photo source: dailymail
Eskil Rønningsbakken an extrem Norway artist famous for dangerous balancing acts that he does at the top of canyons or cliffs. He currently is working with a crew for a documentary about his activity named “On The Edge”.
Adil Hoshur and his two apprentices have recently set an amazing record. They performed simultaneously walking along a 14700 feet long wire and at a height up 1150 feet. They did not used safety equipment.
Adil Hoshur and one teammate. Photo source: dailymail
Tightrope Walking is an amazing extreme sport as well as an art form. Have you ever tried to practice tightrope walking? What do you think about the danger people exposes when practices this?
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