Children studying at the Wuqiao Acrobatics School, in China, are completely aware of what their parents expect of them: they have been enrolled at an early age, live in this boarding school and must succeed, no matter what it costs. Parents want them to become famous and maybe rich, in order to live in better conditions. However, not all the children blossom, not all of them become stars. Yet, they spend their time in school at a very high price, with unbelievable efforts and sacrifices, as we will see through two examples.
Xiang was forced by his father to enter the school, because he thought his child was not smart enough to study on books. But he has a problem: he does not have the same flexibility as his teammates who blame him for his mistakes and incite him to change team because they fear they will not be selected. Passing from program to program and from team to team, Xiang will relentlessly face the bitterness of his mates, teachers and even family, who cannot understand why he is still not able of doing acrobatics after many years of training. His case is hopeless and it is hard to believe there will be a happy ending...
Yuan is a member of the female team of Plate Spinning. As her friends, she wishes to be selected by a famous acrobatic troupe and start to climb towards success and towards higher salaries. Once she is rich, she will be able to help her family and pay back her tuition fee. Failing would mean that all these years in the school have been a waste of time and money. Yuan lives day by day with this unbearable responsibility and in addition she fears that, if she fails, she would work in the fields for the rest of her life.
Behind the myth and magic of a show of acrobatics and contortionism lays a difficult reality made of labour, humiliation, tears and isolation.