Tag: Contortionist

Q&A With American Contortionist Eva Lou Rhinelander

I had the pleasure of asking the incredible American contortionist Eva Lou Rhinelander some questions about her journey as a contortionist. Eva is an amazing contortionist and when she takes to the stage and performs and showcases her astounding skills, she leaves the audience in awe and mesmerized by what the human body can do. Eva is an incredible performer and has an incredible future ahead, she’s one of only a handful of American contortionists who can do the Marinelli Bend . Below are her responses.

Bio: Eva Lou Rhinelander is an 11th grader from Boston, MA. She has toured for 6 summers in the Circus Smirkus Big Top Tour where she performs hula hooping, contortion, handstands, wire & clowning. During the school year Eva competes in dance and is a Level 9 rhythmic gymnast

Instagram: @evalouhoops

Q1: How long have you done contortion for?

I started learning contortion around 2016, when I first began to take handbalance lessons. I was 11 years old. 

Q2: How did you start contortion?

I started rhythmic gymnastics when I was 10, so I was already learning moves that are considered contortion. But it wasn’t until I auditioned for the 2016 Circus Smirkus Big Top Tour that I learned the circus term contortion. I couldn’t hold a handstand, and I didn’t know anything about contortion. After that audition, I enrolled in handbalance lessons, so between the strength and stretching, I was able to start doing contortion tricks. 

Q3: What inspired you to start doing contortion?

I was already a naturally flexible kid, so after my first year at Circus Smirkus, the coaches and directors asked me to start learning contortion so I could be in the act the next year. It was a natural fit!

Here’s a link to Eva’s first contortion act (the Octopus Act in the 2017 Circus Smirkus show): https://youtu.be/0kmw3fuvEI8 (Eva is in the middle in the starting position as the head of the Octopus)

Q4: How often do you train and for how long?

I train an average of 4 hours a day, 6 days a week, in a variety of skills that all help with contortion. These include rhythmic gymnastics, dance, acro, handstands and contortion. 

Q5: What is your favorite contortion move/trick?

My favorite contortion move is contortion pushup. I had to work a really long time to be able to muscle up, so whenever I do a contortion pushup, it is a reminder of the payoff. 

Here is a video of Eva doing contortion pushup and mouthpiece in an act: https://youtu.be/EewRtLL9-oM

Q6: What has been your best contortion experience?

My best contortion experience was learning from so many amazing coaches during the “quarantine” from the spring of 2020 through summer 2021. I started training online from my house, and improved so much. 

Here is a video of a hoop contortion act Eva developed while learning at home: https://youtu.be/GqcTM5mEinw

Q7: What is your ultimate contortion goal/dream?

My ultimate contortion goal is to have solid one arms on both sides, and be able to move around into different positions in one arm. I love balancing handstands so much and want to master them.  

Q8: Best advice you’d give someone interested in contortion?

My best advice is to just keep practicing. You won’t be able to reach your goals unless you work for them, so keep training! And do 100 push-ups everyday!

Q9: Best advice you’ve received?

The best advice I have learned/received over the years of training contortion and handstands is to train on both sides. It is so important to have equal strength and flexibility on both right and left shoulders, splits, wrists, legs, etc. because it is really easy to fall into bad habits which limits the tricks you can do, and you can also injure yourself in the long run. 

Q10: Biggest contortion inspiration?

It is really hard for me to choose just one contortion inspiration. There are so many amazing people who do contortion, as well as so many approaches and techniques to the tricks. I am inspired by the variety of learning that contortion provides. 

Q11: What does a usual day of training look like?

A usual day of training consists of me going to school in the morning, coming home from school and doing homework for maybe an hour, and then rushing off to either gymnastics or dance until 9 p.m.. On days where I train contortion, I stay home and take online classes. 

Q12: What is your preparation for a performance like?

Preparation for a performance consists of planning the theme of the act for the particular show or event, then choosing music, and shifting my act to fit it. I have a couple baseline acts that are always ready to go, so I’m always happy to be in a show! 

Q13: What or who is your biggest motivator in contortion?

My biggest motivator in contortion is the feeling of getting stronger and achieving new tricks. I love to keep improving, and being challenged all the time is why I love contortion so much. There’s always something new to learn.

Q14: What goes through your head when you’re doing a contortion performance?

I actually try my best not to think while I perform contortion. I can get really easily distracted or psych myself out easily, so as long as I am just doing what I know and remembering my act, everything will go accordingly. 

Q15: Do you get nervous? How do you overcome your nerves?

I do get nervous before shows, but more in an excited sort of way. The best way that I can calm myself is to think through my act and practice my hardest tricks before I go on. 

Q16: Describe yourself in 5 words

Motivated, Perfectionist, Sleepy, Hungry, and Sassy

Q&A With Russian Aerialist Svetlana Mikhaylova

I had the pleasure of asking the incredible Russian circus performer Svetlana Mikhaylova some questions about her journey as a performer. Svetlana is an amazing performer and when she takes to the stage and performs and showcases her astounding skills, she leaves the audience in awe and mesmerized by what the human body can do. Svetlana is an incredible performer and has an incredible future ahead. Below are her responses.

(Translated using Google Translate)

Q1: How long have done contortion for?

I have been learning rubber elements for half a year, and developing flexibility for 5 years

Q2: How did you start contortion?

I sat on the splits, bent my back, and then I started trying new elements

Q3: How often do you attend training and for how long?

training every day for 5-7 hours

Q4: What has been your best contortion experience?

The best experience with Alesya Lavercheva

Q5: What is your ultimate contortion goal/dream?

I don’t have a dream, there are many goals to which I go

Q6:  Best advise you’ve received?

If I suffer for a long time, then everything will work out

Q7: What does a usual day of training look like?

On weekdays: 14:00-15:00-acrobatics 15:00-16:00-rubber 16:00-22:00 aerial gymnastics Weekend: 9:00-16:00 – aerial gymnastics 16:00-18:00 – acrobatics 18:00-19:00 – rubber

Q8: What is your preparation for a performance like?

First I do my hair, then make-up and go out to perform

Q9: What or who is your biggest motivator in contortion?

Alesya Lavercheva

Q10: What goes through your head when you’re doing a contortion performance?

Think about your mistakes, how to avoid them

Q11: Do you get nervous? How do you overcome your nerves?

All nerves go through training

Q&A With Russian Contortionist Ekaterina (@ekaterina_19910)


I had the joy of asking the incredible Russian contortionist Ekaterina some questions about her journey as a contortionists/aerialist. Ekaterina is an amazing contortionist/aerialist and when she takes to the stage and performs and showcases her astounding skills, she leaves the audience in awe and mesmerized by what the human body can do. She is an incredibly talented performer with a bright future ahead. Below are her responses.

(Translated using Google Translate)

Q1: How long have done contortion for?

3-4 years

Q2: How did you start contortion?

Came to the circus studio, They taught this genre there

Q3: How often do you attend training and for how long?

5 times a week for 2-3 hours

Q4: What is your favourite contortion move/trick?

Triple fold

Q5: What has been your best contortion experience?The best performance was when I performed for the very first time

Q6: What is your ultimate contortion goal/dream?

I strive to learn how to stand on one hand

Q7:  Best advise you’ve received?

1% of talent – 99% of work

Q8: What does a usual day of training look like?

Warm up, work on the table (if that was meant)

Q9: What is your preparation for a performance like?

Calmly

Q10: What or who is your biggest motivator in contortion?

Quite a lot of people

Q11: What goes through your head when you’re doing a contortion performance?

I am completely in the performance. Therefore, there are no thoughts. Only about what to do next in the room, I guess

Q12: Do you get nervous? How do you overcome your nerves?

Of course, it happens. It helps me to be calm

Q&A With Ukrainian Contortionist Maria Floka

I had the pleasure of asking the incredible Ukrainian contortionist Maria Floka some questions about her journey as a contortionists. Maria is an amazing contortionist and when she takes to the stage and performs and showcases her astounding skills, she leaves the audience in awe and mesmerized by what the human body can do. She is one of a select few Ukrainian contortionists who have learnt how to do the Marinelli Bend. Maria is an incredible performer and has an incredible future ahead, she had the opportunity at the end of 2021 to audition for Ukraine’s Got Talent. Below are her responses.

Q1: How long have done contortion for?

II have been doing it for 8 years

Q2: How did you start contortion?

Being engaged in circus art, performing various acrobatic elements, I began to succeed and I chose this particular type for myself.

Q3: What inspired you to start doing contortion?

Directly, so that there was no inspiration then, I just tried, tried.

Q4: How often do you train and for how long?

I train a lot, I get older more and more drivers in this attachment

Q5: What is your favourite contortion move/trick?

I love to combine flexibility and strength

Q6: What has been your best contortion experience?

The best experience for me was participation in a talent show

Q7: What is your ultimate contortion goal/dream?

I have many goals that I want to use in this transport and conquer new heights.  I dream of a future hero in the best circuses in the world, Cirque Du Soleil

Q8: Best advise you’ve give someone interested in contortion?

I can say that you always need to listen to yourself and your desire, then everything will work out

Q9: Best advise you’ve received?

It is precisely in this that I respect the advice of professional artists that I receive, they satisfy me, and almost everything that is important is not to give up, even if something does not work, the main thing is to try and try

Q10: Biggest contortion inspiration?

Desire

Q11: What does a usual day of training look like?

The very basis is always a good warm-up, after this, the execution of the elements, the passage of the number

Q12: What is your preparation for a performance like?

Well, probably like everyone else.  Make-up, hair, warm-up, a few elements done, and go

Q13: What or who is your biggest motivator in contortion?

My main motivation in everything is my family.

Q14: What goes through your head when you’re doing a contortion performance?

I direct all my attention during a speech to observations

Q15: Do you get nervous? How do you overcome your nerves?

Of course I’m nervous.  I try to fight, but most often, when you go out, everything goes away

Q16: Describe yourself in 5 words

Well, I don’t know, probably kind, stubborn, cheerful, proud, purposeful.

Goddess of Flexibility – Julia Guenthel (Zlata) [UPDATED]

If there is ever one person who is viewed as being a goddess and influencer in the world of contortion in Europe, it would be Julia Guenthel, otherwise known as Zlata.

 

Born in Kazakhstan, Julia was a flexible child and her talent was spotted in kindergarten, her family noticed her talent and decided to put her in circus training, starting contortion at the young age of 6 years old and had her performance at the age of 10. Julia would move to Leipzig when she was 16.

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Young Julia

“I could easily touch my toes or hook my legs around my neck — I didn’t have to think about it. My family were immediately all very proud of my ability and they encouraged me to practice and make the most of it,” Julia told DailyMail.

With her beauty, flexibility and elegance, Julia developed a following as one of the world’s best contortionists. With her impressive front and back bending skills, Julia even has the acclaim of six Guinness World Records. The records include “Fastest time to pop three balloons with the back” of 12 seconds which was set in 2007 and “Most crown cap bottles opened with feet in one minute” with 8 bottles opened which was set in 2013. Julia also held the record “Most flowers picked up with the mouth in a contortion backbend” of 11 roses however it had since been beaten by Liu Teng of China.

 

Some days training would be many hours in length, with this intense level of training, Julia became of the world’s best contortionists. With this, television appearances in Russia, Germany, China, Japan, South Korea, Netherlands and many other counties came calling. Even appearing on the red carpet in Cannes Film Festival wowing actress Kylie Minogue and photographers in attendance. Julia is so flexible she can squeeze herself into a 50cm squared box.

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In 2010, Julia appeared on Discovery Channel show “Is it possible?” where a doctor analysed an MRI of Zlata in a backbend and the show was in attendance as Julia participated in another photoshoot. The doctor explained Julia’s incredible flexibility is due to increase elasticity in her joints and ligaments which is similar to that of a young child. But she faced jealousy from other girls at a young age in school, due to her abilities. Zlata, said: ‘In Russia being flexible is a very good thing to be because everyone is really into gymnastics. ‘Some of the other girls didn’t like how good I was.’

Her talents became a feature online with the launch of her own website Zlata.de where she showcased her incredible talent and skills in numerous videos and photos. This would be something that she would be involved in for many years until taking a break and eventually ending her stardom on the website in late 2016 and transitioning to a role behind the scenes.

Zlata has previously said: ‘Doing these poses just feels natural to me. ‘Sometimes it can get a bit uncomfortable if I have to hold a pose for a long time in photoshoots.

Julia has been an influence and inspiration for many contortionists around the world. Working with famous contortionists such as Alesya Laverycheva, Ruslana Krutas, Barbara Gordeeva and many others contortionists around the world.

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Julia, Ruslana & Ekaterina

Her poise, flexibility, talent and longevity is incredible, being involved in contortion for over 20 years makes Zlata one of the true icons of the contortion world. Now 34 years of age, Julia now takes her passion for contortion behind the camera with her spearheading the relaunch of her website Zlata.de featuring a new contortionist from Russia, Angelina.

Julia will go down in history as one of the world’s best contortionist and has definitely left her mark on the contortion industry.

Q&A With Julia Guenthel

How long have you done contortion for?

I started training rubber at 6 years old.

How did you start contortion?

At first I was sent to rhythmic gymnastics, after a year of classes I moved to a circus school.

How often do you train and for how long?

I train every day for 2-3 hours.

Your favorite contortion move / trick?

Tightening, standing on my feet to tighten his back so that there was no room.

What is your ultimate contortion goal?

I have already realized my dream in rubber, and not one 🙂 now I just wish that the memory of this will remain and rubber as a genre developed.

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Q&A With Ukrainian Contortionist Sofia Kostritskaya

I had the joy of asking the incredible Ukrainian contortionist Sofia Kostritskaya some questions about her journey as one of the best new contortionists. Sofia is an amazing contortionist and when she takes to the stage and performs and showcases her astounding skills, she leaves the audience in awe and mesmerised by what the human body can do. The joy she has on her face when performing is infectious and her smile brings happiness to many. Sofia has had the opportunity to compete in many competitions in and around Ukraine and had the chance to appear on some TV shows showcasing her incredible talent. Below are her responses.

Sofia’s responses translated using Google Translate

How long have you done contortion for?

I have been engaged in contortion since the age of 4

How did you start contortion?

I started practicing myself, then my mother opened a studio, a school since we did not have any gymnastics sections in the city and now I am training with my mother

How often do you train and for how long?

In the training hall I train three times a week, the rest of the time is home training every evening.

What is your best contortion experience?

I am the winner of many awards. I have more than 200 medals, more than a hundred cups. Broke the record of the country – the maximum number of acrobatic elements. 111 unique elements

Q&A With Russian Contortionist Alesya Laverycheva

I recently had joy of asking world renowned, Russian contortionist Alesya Laverycheva some questions about her phenomenal career as one of the world’s best contortionists. Alesya is an amazing contortionist and when she takes to the stage and performs and showcases her astounding skills, she leaves the audience in awe and mesmerised by what the human body can do. The joy she has on her face when performing is infectious and her smile brings happiness to many. Alesya has had the opportunity to travel the world performing, from China to her homeland of Russia. She also has had the opportunity to work with some of the worlds best contortionists over the years. Below are her responses.

Alesya’s responses translated using Google Translate

How long have done contortion for?

I have been studying contortion since my childhood from the age of 7 or 8, I do not remember exactly and I still do it.

How did you start contortion?

I would say this is natural flexibility. It was easy for me at training) I was engaged in a circus studio)

How often do you train and for how long?

I personally do not train every day, because I think that the body should also rest, for example, I study Monday, Wednesday and Friday’s, there are also big breaks. The time i train for varies depending on how I feel and what I’m doing. I also do things differently for the feeling when I can practice for 2 hours, when I can 1 hour, or when they go through the photo sessions that whole day.

What is your favourite contortion move/trick?

I often like my favorite tricks. I like triple folds.

What has been your best contortion experience?

In photo sessions I learn that I can get stronger that I do not know about it myself 😀 I really like the flexibility and what I do. This is probably a gift and everyone has their own. It’s my contortion skills

What is your ultimate contortion goal/dream?

The goal of a dream is to try something new

 

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Q&A With Chilean Contortionist Fernando Gonzalez Arismendi

I recently had the chance to ask Fernando Gonzalez Arismendi about his journey as a contortionist, he’s an amazing contortionist. His dedication and passion for contortion is incredible. Below are his responses.

Instagram: fertwisted

Facebook: FerTwisted

How long have done contortion for?

I’ve been training almost ten years.

How did you start contortion?

I started to do contortion because one day, I went to a circus and I saw a very flexible couple doing aerial silks. I felt very inspired because that was a magic moment. After it, I was training splits and oversplits about three years, but when I was 12 years old I thought: “I need backbends” So, my first backbend was a bridge and I loved it. That was the moment when I decided to break my limits. Nobody taught me, so as you can see, I’m self-taught contortionist.

I have a secret with my training method. I think that the secret is in the hours that you stretch haha! So well, I stretch and warm up over 3 hours per day!! But in performances I stretch and warm up almost 30 minutes!

How often do you train and for how long?

I have a secret with my training method. I think that the secret is in the hours that you stretch haha! So well, I stretch and warm up over 3 hours per day!! But in performances I stretch and warm up almost 30 minutes!

What is your favourite contortion move/trick?

My favorite contortion move is the headsit. I love to sit in my head, basically for the people’s reaction!! I love it!

What has been your best contortion experience?

My favorite moment in my entire life was in 2014 and 2017 when I became as the most flexible man of Chile. Won that was very emotional. But well I also appeared in tv shows, festival shows, international competition (I placed 7th), tv programs, circuses, events.

What is your ultimate contortion goal/dream?

My big dream is go outside of my country to perform. I would like to perform around the world!

Q&A With Albanian Contortionist Manushaqe Mücke (Manuelle)

I recently had the chance to ask Manushaqe Mücke some questions about her incredible journey as one of the world’s best contortionists. Manushaqe can do some incredible poses and moves such as the marinelli bend. She is one of the only contortionists in the world to shoot a bow and arrow with her feet while holding the marinelli bend. Her passion and love for contortion is phenomenal. She has had opportunities to appear on numerous TV shows showcasing her amazing skills.

Website: Manuelle-Contortion

How long have done contortion for?

I start the Circus School in Albania when I was 11 years old, With Contortion I start at 14 something like this but I was very flexible before.

How did you start contortion?

I started for fun and with time it became something that I love to do and I’m never tired working contortion and having fun.

How often do you train and for how long?

I train everyday 2 or 3 hour per day

What is your favourite contortion move/trick?

I have many favourite move, they are all favourite hahaha

What has been your best contortion experience?

The best contortion experience was Las Vegas

What is your ultimate contortion goal/dream?

Oh, I have many dreams we will see what comes I’m working in some new contortion move and a new act.

Q&A With Russian Contortionist Yana Blotskaya

I recently had the chance to ask Yana Blotskaya some questions about her amazing journey as a contortionist. Yana previously spent many years as a Rhythmic gymnast where her incredible flexibility was unearthed. Recently Yana has focused her time on one of her passion Contortion. Her main inspirations are Jordan McKnight and Alexey Goloborodko. Her flexibility is incredible and the skies the limit for Yana. Horse riding and Rap music are some of Yana’s other hobbies. Below are her responses.

How long have done contortion for?

I’ve done contortion since I was 11 y.o.

How did you start contortion?

I started contortion because my friends do it

How often do you train and for how long?

I train every day.2-3 hours

What is your favourite contortion move/trick?

I haven’t got favorite trick

What has been your best contortion experience?

My best contortion experiences happen when I train in the kid grounds

What is your ultimate contortion goal/dream?

My goal is do contortion as long as possible, get a lot of followers, become famous and do my own rap songs