Spotlight on Contortion

Iona Contortionist

Contortion the art of flexibility

We want to give you some insights into different disciplines and classes we have on SupaClass. We are going to start with Contortion the art of flexibility.

When someones sees a contortion performance for the first time their reaction is usually a mix of shock and amazement as they see contortionists bend themselves into seemingly impossible shapes. How can they bend like that without hurting themselves?

Setting Guiness World Record

Iona teaches Contortion and Flexibility classes in a studio in Camden, London. She’s been trained in a traditional style in Mongolia from a young age of 9. Most of people in the UK would know her as “that bendy lady from BGT”. A less well known fact is that she set a Guiness World Record for longest hold of Marinelli bend where whole body weight of the contortionist supported only by biting onto a mouth grip.

Marinelli bend

Iona says that contrary to a common belief contortionists when trained properly are less likely to get injured than performers in many other circus disciplines and this is because of the way they train. Whilst this is true that becoming world’s best contortionist require significant natural flexibility everyone can benefit from flexibility and traditional contortion training. Usually there is a good mix of students in the class. Some of them in their 30s and 40s just starting their training and working on their splits and bridges but she also trained students who are performing with Cirque du Soleil now.

Iona’s class

Proper flexibility training

The main focus of the training is listening to your body and learning to control how to relax and strengthen different muscles. Usually class lasts 3 hours with good warm up to make sure that muscles are elastic and ready for work and then various exercises aimed at gradually increasing your flexibility. The teacher helps you to learn the difference between “bad” pain and “good” pain, when you restore your natural full range of motion. Iona’s says that contortion promotes longevity and there are contortionists who perform acts with scorpion pose into their 60s and even 70s.

Learn more about Iona’s classes @ SupaClass