Sophomore Chinese Yo-yo Performer Shares her Talent

After six years of passionate practice, sophomore Renee Wang can perform a variety of advanced tricks, such as vertical axis, one-handed whips and double yo-yo.

Bia Shok and Nicholas Hung

Video Courtesy of Renee Wang

With a deft flick of her wrist, sophomore Renee Wang skillfully launches her Chinese yo-yo high into the morning sky. In the blink of an eye, the diabolo almost impossibly catches on the thin string Wang is holding between her hands, already accelerating for its next toss. 

Wang began her yo-yo journey in elementary school, when she explored fourth grade elective classes in Taipei, Taiwan. After trying activities like magic and chess, she landed on Chinese yo-yo and has passionately stuck with the art.

Her love for Chinese yo-yo extends into her weekends as she spends at least three hours volunteering at the Irvine Chinese School and Cultural Center, assisting three yo-yo classes with around 20 students each. Her students, anywhere from 6 to 16, range from complete beginners to intermediate yo-yoers.

“I used to be a student in those classes, and when I saw a couple people working as teachers’ assistants I decided I really wanted to do that,” Wang said. “I like teaching because I want to be able to use my skills to help others learn what I have learned.” 

In her classes, one can hear the constant calming hum of ball bearings speeding past each other interjected with the exclamations of students being taught a trick for the first time or the sound of collision with a rogue yo-yo from across the room. 

“I feel like my students are just my classmates, because I’m teaching my peers,” Wang said. “We just hang out as friends, and I have a stronger connection with them because of that.” 

Aside from her teaching duties, Wang also loves to perform, whether it is in a group or by herself. Recently, she performed for a Lunar New Year celebration at the ICSCC in an exciting duo with advanced yo-yo instructor Jimmy Huang. 

As the yo-yo whips around her body, flying forwards, backwards and sideways, Wang makes every trick look easy. Although she does not have an instructor anymore, Wang teaches herself through YouTube videos and practice routines. She even learned her favorite trick of controlling two yo-yos on one string by herself.

“Whenever I see a new trick, I always want to learn it,” Wang said. “I hope to continue Chinese yo-yo as a hobby and maybe as a part-time job where I can keep teaching others.”