Tight Rope walking (or funambulism), is the art of walking along a thin wire or rope. It has a long tradition in various countries and is commonly associated with the circus, music hall and vaudeville.
A version of it, called Slack Rope or Slack Wire walking, is in fact the opposite of "Tight Rope" walking, one where the support is flexible or 'slack', and thus requires other skills. Often used by clowns and comedians as a circus or vaudeville act. It was particularly popular in the mid-1800s in South Africa. See for example Monsieur Dupree (1833),
A modern form of the slack rope is an extreme sport version, which arose in the late 1970s, and the activity is called "Slacklining".