ROPE-WALKING, the art of walking, dancing and performing tricks of equilibrium on a rope or wire stretched between two supports. It has been popular with most Asiatic and European peoples from the beginning of history. Before the middle of the 19th century a rope was invariably used, and was stretched as tightly as possible, on which account the art was called Tight-rope Walking. About the year 1875 the slack wire, stretched loosely from support to support, was introduced, and is now more commonly used. The performer is often aided in keeping his balance by a Chinese umbrella or a long pole.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)