Tag: Marinelli Bend

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 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 Amazing Contortionist HeeJin Diamond

I recently had the opportunity to ask the amazing Mongolian contortionist Heejin Diamond some questions about her wonderful career as a contortionist.

How long have done contortion for?

I started contortion when I was 6 years old.

How did you start contortion?

In Mongolia, contortion is a big traditional discipline. My mother said i was 5 years old when I discovered contortion by watching TV. It was like a flash on me that suddenly I wanted to make the same things. After lot of times by bending myself in living room, my parents inscribed me in contortion school to calm me, they thought it was just a desire in transient. The passion never leaved me.

13 years old, I started to be professional and marked the start of international tours all by continuing my elementary school.

How often do you train and for how long?

I rehearse minimum 2 hours if I am not on the stage.

When I work every day like now from last year, I rehears 1 hour in the morning and I do 1 hour of warming up before going on the stage.

I also have my ballet class once per week and I also do pole dance class because it’s technically so amusing for me.

What is your favourite contortion move/trick?

I am also handstand artist. I mostly like the research of hand standing and movements which procure me more sensation. Play with the gravity and hand standing is more creative for me.

What has been your best contortion experience?

I think it was the creation of my first solo act Snow Queen. With my husband who accompanied me in my all projects, we passed entire year to design and create it. That was like our first baby, LOL

What is your ultimate contortion goal/dream?

There is a lot, thanks god. Being artist is a performant war of the new dreams and challenges.

I just opened my studio (Diamond Studio) in the center of Paris where I form professional artists, I work on the creation of two new acts, I work every night in Paradis Latin, one of the most beautiful Cabarets in Paris built by Gustave Eiffel and I turn around with my 3 different acts… I don’t live my life I dream it.


Contortionist in Focus: Alina Ruppel

If there is ever a Mount Rushmore or Hall of Fame of contortionists, the first name that would come to find in 2018 would have to be Alina Ruppel. This young German woman single handily changed contortion with her natural abilities. She’s even reached the point where a pose/move was named after her because she invented it and is the only person to be able to do it.

A Superstar is found

Alina faced struggles as an infant and a young child, she was diagnosed with a form of cerebral palsy, with the initial diagnoses was she could possibly be confined to a wheelchair. Movement was a struggle early on however as she grew and got stronger it became less of an issue. Contortion actually helped Alina strengthen her muscles. At the age of 9, Alina’s mother discovered her abilities and began training her. In 2009 Early on in her training, Alina trained under the guidance of legendary German contortion and gymnastics coach Gerd Rasquin and also her mother. At this stage, Alina’s incredible skills were quite apparent and very quickly the Ruppel Backbend was created. To this day, only a handful of contortionists have been able to replicate this move, all to differing results compared to Alina. For it to be a perfect Ruppel Backbend, the legs must be straight with the shoulders through the legs.

Failure leads to success

In 2007 Alina Ruppel auditioned for Das Supertalent (Germany’s got Talent) she was unsuccessful at progressing past the audition however this only spurred her on to continue to improve. In 2013 Alina attended the International Contortion Convention in Germany along with her mother where she performed her cabaret show which wowed audiences and even had the media bending over backwards to talk to her about her insane flexibility.

Eliza is born

In 2015 Alina partnered with Steffen Gunthel where he assisted her with developing her new act called “Eliza” and also developed a website that would rival that of Zlata.de, Flexilady.com where she originally used the alias Malina. It may not have been everyone’s cup of tea but there was no denying the website showcased Alina’s extreme flexibility and incredible talent. 2016 saw Alina travel to Las Vegas for the 2016 International Contortion Convention where she performed for those in attendance. Yet again she mesmerised the audience and media with her incredible flexibility and skills, her repertoire had grown to include the Marinelli bend. Alina continued to collaborate with Steffen on the new website, Alina also made a few television appearances in recent years, notably along side Ukrainian contortionist Ruslana Krutas on Dutch TV where they competed against each other. They both appeared in a handful of videos together for Flexilady.com.

Golden Girl

In 2017, Alina auditions for Das Supertalent again, this time with her Eliza routine. She got a “Yes” from all three judges and she even received the gold buzzer which sent her straight through to the finals. All of the judges were amazed at her abilities and were near speechless.


Taking over the world one Ruppel BB at a time

2018 saw the departure of Alina from Flexilday.com, due to a personal decision of Alina’s. Thus, meaning the site no longer received new content. Contortion lovers can still marvel at Alina’s incredible abilities by looking through her archival of videos and photos thanks to Steffen. Also, in 2018 Alina travelled to the USA to audition for America’s got Talent. This will go to air sometime in June where she will no doubly raise the eyebrows of the judging panel, Howie Mandel my turn away in fear if any other contortion auditions are to go by. Alina continues to train incredibly hard and still have the title of one of the worlds most flexible people.

Alina’s mother believes it’s important that Alina performs because it’s a gift and her talent should flourish so that people are able to see her and get joy from seeing her beauty with their own eyes.