More than 200 acrobats from 17 countries and regions have participated in a major international circus festival that kicked off on Saturday evening in north China\'s Hebei Province. Acrobatic artists from Russia, the United States, Canada, the Democratic People\'s Republic of Korea, Australia, France and other countries will present 30 performances during the 13th China Wuqiao International Circus Festival (CWICF). Acrobatic Swan Lake, which is dubbed as \"the most beautiful acrobatics and the most dangerous ballet\", was staged at the opening ceremony in Shijiazhuang, capital city of Hebei. The major activities of the nine-day festival include an international circus competition, forums on world circus and circus art exchanges. The judging committee for the competition is made up of 10 foreign experts and two Chinese scholars. The prize for the top award, Gold Lion, will be 50,000 yuan (7,835 U.S. dollars). Known as \"oriental acrobatic arena,\" the event was originated in 1987 and is held every other year. Taking friendship, exchange, prosperity and development as its theme, this year\'s festival is co-organized by the Ministry of Culture and the Hebei provincial government. The repertoires will feature different cultural backgrounds and national styles, contain various acrobatic skills and highlight the characteristics of modern circus art, said Bian Faji, chairman of the judging committee. The CWICF, named after the birthplace of acrobatics -- Wuqiao County of Hebei, is considered one of the three most famed acrobatic competitions in the world along with the Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival in Monaco and the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain (the World Festival of the Circus of Tomorrow) in France.