When it comes to impressive body movement, nothing comes close to contortion. This art is particularly unique and captivating, especially if you’ve never had the chance to witness for yourself before.
Focused on twisting and contorting the body into unnatural and seemingly impossible positions and poses, this art requires a lot of dedication, hard work, flexibility, and control.
Often found in circuses and performing groups, some people decide to perform this art for themselves too, both as a form of self-expression, and as a form of exercise too.
If you want to know more about this deeply intriguing practice, and familiarize yourself with some of the most popular contortion poses, then this guide is for you, as we’ll discuss everything you need to know!
What Is Contortion?
If you’ve never heard of contortion before, or have at least never explored what it is, then allow us to catch you up to speed and teach you more about this incredible art form.
Contortion is a type of physical art that involves stretching, bending, and twisting the body in some extremely unusual ways, and is especially demanding on those involved.
The clamor over contortionists comes from the fact that their bodies are able to bend in ways that seem impossible to the average person, and combined with their athleticism and grace, their performances are most certainly captivating.
Contortionists have played a major role in the circus for centuries, but have also been able to demonstrate their skills in theater, dance, and even films.
The poses are often performed alongside a wide variety of different props too, such as ribbons, chairs, and hoops to help bring something extra to the show.
It’s safe to say that those who participate in contortion need an immense amount of flexibility, strength, dedication and discipline in order to be able to perform in the way that they do, which is exactly why their performances are considered so impressive!
More Than Just The Pose
While many people might simply assume that contortion is all about the poses, the reality is that a lot more goes into the performance, especially for things such as circus or dance shows.
Both the execution of the trick, as well as the transition in between each trick, are just as important for a successful contortion performance, and it is only when all of these individual elements are fused together that the performance really becomes an impressive spectacle.
Types Of Contortion Poses
What many non-contortionists might not realize is that many contortion poses actually overlap when it comes to their starting requirements, which means for a contortionist, perfecting the foundation of these moves is absolutely essential.
Once a contortionist has been able to master these core poses, they will then be able to progress onto the more difficult poses, which are learned by breaking the move down into smaller parts, allowing the performer to make small but steady progressions until they can complete the full pose.
There are 6 different main types of contortion poses:
- Backbending Poses: These are the poses that demand plenty of flexibility in the shoulders, hips, and back, and include poses such as the Needle, the Scorpion, and the Fish Fold.
- Balancing Poses: As you can imagine, these types of poses include plenty of balance in order to pull them off, and can include poses such as the Human Knot Arm Balance, the Leg Behind Back Handstand, and the Kandasana arm balance.
- Frontbending Poses: These poses require full flexibility from the legs, hips, and back in order to be bent forwards, and include poses like the Leg Behind Head, the Human Knot, and the Fold Through.
- Split Poses: Common in many contortion performances, these poses all revolve around performing the splits and can be incorporated in a variety of different ways. Examples include both front splits, and side splits.
- Dislocation Poses: Arguably some of the most grotesque of all the contortion poses, these poses include unnatural motion in the shoulder joints in order to perform tricks with the arms, but it is worth noting that they don’t actually dislocate themselves.
- Twist Poses: Although less common, twist poses can be both interesting and dramatic when correctly deployed, and stem from a combination of both hip and back flexibility. Some of the most common twist poses are the Pretzel Twist, Twisted Scorpion, and Seated Twist.
How Easy Is It To Learn Contortion Poses?
There’s a chance that you might be sitting at home reading this and thinking “I wonder if I could learn contortion poses”?
The reality is that compared to things like yoga, contortion is an entirely different level of difficulty, and while there are ways to develop and improve your flexibility, some people are just naturally more flexible than others, so you might not be capable of performing any contortion poses.
In addition to this, you should only ever attempt to learn contortion under the guidance of an experienced or qualified coach or instructor, otherwise, you could risk severe injury.
But with determination and dedication, you too might be able to perform some contortion for yourself too!
We hope that this guide to contortion poses has helped you to learn more about this incredible art form, and that you get to check out a contortionist in action sometime soon!