Thanks to new flying techniques and advances in technology, windless kite-flying is now possible.
Contributed By Annie Wong
On July 29 at 5 p.m., dozens of colorful kites were seen soaring outside ION Orchard. People of different ages, from teenagers to the elderly, flying kites of different shapes and sizes—some had one string, some had two, some, four, and a few were even attached to what looked like fishing rods. But the real anomaly was that there was no wind in that space.
As part of the NTUC Income Kite Festival Singapore 2011, which is in its third year running, the Indoor Kite Fiesta aimed to showcase the gravity-defying wonders of windless kite-flying, a trend that is fast picking up interest in cities where open space is scarce and the weather unpredictable. The technique of flying and the type of kite is what defines indoor kite-flying, which can be practiced inside buildings and in almost any windless environment.
Held from July 29 till Aug. 7 at ION Orchard, the Indoor Kite Fiesta is a run-up to September’s Kite Flying Days at The Promontory @ Marina Bay. Jointly organized by NTUC Income and children’s theater company, Act 3 International, the week-long event featured a star-studded line-up of international indoor kite-flying experts such as John Barresi (pictured), an award-winning American kite-flyer, Qian Jian Guo from China and Singapore’s Cheong Chun Ti.
Indoor kite-flying is already a popular sport in Europe and the USA. Compared to conventional kite-flying, it is a more demanding sport requiring precise techniques and body movements to compensate for the windless environment. Indoor kites are made with super-strong, lightweight fabric as well as composite carbon rods, and can range from one to five meters in size.
“Through the festival, we hope to cultivate a deeper appreciation of kites and kite-flying. This year, our programing will focus on the trend of urban kite-flying as well as celebrating the artistry of kite-making. There is so much to discover about an activity that is steeped in tradition, yet continuously evolving in different facets as an art form and a much-loved sport,” said Ruby Lim-Yang, artistic director and co-founder of Act 3 International.
Onlookers marveled as Barresi, 36, maneuvered his kite through the air with a dance of sorts; kite-flyer and kite became as one through a flick of the wrist, a pull of the arm, a twist of the shoulder. It was like watching a virtuoso performance: Barresi’s facial expression also changed with the movement of his kite, smiling unconsciously as he watched it glide peacefully through the air, and turning aggressive as he pulled and jerked the kite the next moment.
The event also saw performances from musicians, singers, stilt walkers, jugglers and magicians. The Indoor Kite Fiesta was the first time an event of this nature has taken place on Orchard Road.
Look out for the Kite Flying Days at The Promontory @ Marina Bay on Sep. 3 and 4. Highlights at this family-friendly event include a traditional kite-making showcase featuring the skills of kite-masters from Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam. There will also be demonstrations, kite-making workshops and performances by musicians, singers and magicians.