It is vital for a street performer to stand out among hundreds of other performers in a city center if they want to find an audience. For Yang Linwei, who performs under the stage name Miss Antipode, finding an audience in the busy streets of Taipei is not a difficult task.
She entices passers-by not with her musical talents or magic tricks, but with her feet. Yang’s unique act involves balancing heavy objects on her feet with ease. A table almost appears to dance in mid-air as the twenty-eight-year-old effortlessly passes it from one foot to the other.
She makes it look easy, but her skill requires a combination of extreme physical strength and concentration. One small slip-up could lose her her audience.
Of course, no street performance is complete without audience participation. For the second part of her act, Yang recruits two small children from the crowd. Her next object is a steel pole, around ten feet in length, with a toddler’s swing seat on each end.
The children are tightly strapped into the seats, and Yang assumes position. The pole is carefully placed on her feet, which she uses to spin the pole – and the children – in a smooth continuous loop. It is a testament to her skill that parents are not hesitant to let their children participate.
Yang has performed at night markets throughout East Asia; most recently appearing at Shulin Xingren Garden in Taipei and is a regular at Northern Taiwan’s Big City Mall. She has also brought her talents to the small screen, appearing on Taiwanese talent show Battle for Happiness.
A street performer must be resilient, dedicated, willing to work long hours with little to no break, and rely on the generosity of strangers to make a living. It seems risky, yet Miss Antipode is certainly somebody to envy, for she truly loves what she does and all the risks that come with it. She says, “My dream is to perform for a lifetime. Whether thirty, fifty or ninety-nine years old, I hope that I can still shine on the stage.” If you want to keep up-to-date with news from Miss Antipode, you can follow her on Instagram.