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Shizuoka welcomes street performers’ World Cup

by Mariko Kato

World-class street performers descend on Shizuoka Prefecture for the annual Daidogei World Cup this week. Fourteen groups, who have survived a rigorous selection process, will compete for the 16th championship title.

The talent is varied and collected from all corners of the globe, including pantomime from Belgium, circus from Ghana, comedy percussion from Canada and pole acrobatics from the U.S.

First held in 1992, the Daidogei World Cup (daidogei means “street performance” or “busking”) has increased in size every year.

In addition to the competitive World Cup category, Shizuoka welcomes street performers for three noncompetitive sections, totaling 154 performers from 23 countries. The performances take place from morning to evening, in streets and parks across the city.

Top performers display pantomime, acrobatics, magic, dance and “feet puppets,” while others take over various street corners around the city. You don’t even need to seek out a staged performance — performers for the “Walking Street” category will stop you along the street, perhaps even encouraging you to participate.

The 2007 Daidogei World Cup runs through Nov. 4. Show venues include Sumpu Park, Shichiken-cho, Aoba Symbol Road, Gofuku-cho, Shin-shizuoka Center, Shizuoka 109 and S-Pulse Dream Plaza in Shimizu Ward, and Central Square in Suruga Ward.

Performance times are: Nov. 2, 10.30 a.m.-9 p.m.; Nov. 3, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Nov. 4, 10 a.m.-6 p.m..

Performances at the Premium Stage in Sumpu Park cost ¥1,000 (daytime) or ¥1,500 (evening). Circus Klezmer from Barcelona performs daily at 6 p.m. until Nov. 3 (¥2,000). Tickets are sold from 8.15 a.m. on the day, at the ticket center in front of the Premium Stage. For schedules and information, visit www.daidogei.com/2007 or call (054) 205-9840.