Circus Center Mourns the Passing of Master Trainer Lu Yi, Its 24-Year Artistic Director - CircusTalk

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Circus Center Mourns the Passing of Master Trainer Lu Yi, Its 24-Year Artistic Director

It is with deep sadness thatCircus Center announces the passing of its longest-serving Artistic Director, Master TrainerLu Yi. With over 50 years of experience in the world of circus arts, Master Lu Yi’s contributions and legacy in the industry have left an indelible mark.

I have known Lu Yi since 1986, when I worked at the Big Apple Circus and we were scouting China for an acrobatic troupe,” said Dominique Jando, Circus Center Board member and international circus historian. “We reunited when I joined Circus Center in 2003 at his request. His passing affects me personally, but it also marks the end of an important chapter in the history of circus arts in America — a chapter in which he was a major player and an inspirational teacher for an entire generation of students and artists.”

When I met Mr. LuYi, I immediately knew that he was the man for our circus school,” added Judy Finelli, Circus Center’s co-founder. “I am so eternally grateful that he came because he changed American acrobatic art and renovated it completely!

“Lu Yi’s influence on the global circus community and specifically The 7 Fingers is immeasurable,” said Gypsy Snider, co-founder and Artistic Director of The 7 Fingers, the famed contemporary circus company. “Lu Yi is part of the DNA ofDear San Francisco. His life’s passion and work is carried on through the cast, creators and the story we tell on stage in his honor every night. From everyone at Club Fugazi and The 7 Fingers, we send his family love. His legacy will be shared by us all with pride and humility.”

Master Lu Yi’s journey in the world of circus arts began with the celebrated Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe in China, where he was a star performer for 33 years. His exceptional talents and dedication eventually led him to take on the role of Director for the troupe. He was also appointed as the Vice President of the Chinese Acrobats Association, further solidifying his influential position in the field.

Throughout his career with the Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe, Master Lu Yi toured internationally, showcasing the troupe’s extraordinary talents. His company was the first Chinese group to perform in Western circus productions, making history with appearances at renowned venues such as Circus Knie in Switzerland and the Big Apple Circus in the United States. Additionally, he generously shared his knowledge and skills with aspiring circus artists, teaching at Circus Oz in Australia.

In 1990, Master Lu Yi moved to the United States to join Circus Center, where he took on the role of Master Teacher and Artistic Director. His expertise and passion for circus arts were instrumental in shaping the development of countless young talents.

Master Lu Yi’s influence extended beyond the stage as he also served as a judge in international circus competitions in Paris, Monte Carlo, and China, contributing to the recognition and advancement of the art form.

Circus Center acknowledges Master Lu Yi’s immeasurable contributions and expresses its profound gratitude for his dedication to the circus arts. His legacy will continue to inspire generations of circus artists to come.

Our thoughts and deepest condolences go out to Master Trainer Lu Yi’s family, friends, and the global circus community during this time of mourning.

Master Lu Yi among his students at the San Francisco Circus Center

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