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How to be a Cirque du Soleil Contortionist

Cirque Du Soleil Anniversary Collection
Cirque Du Soleil Anniversary Collection

At last count, Web Watch has seen 14 different Cirque du Soleil shows –which, at an average ticket price of $100 apiece, plus concessions and otherwise, means that we’ve spent a hell of a lot of money on Guy Laliberte’s entertainment empire.

And every cent so far we consider money well spent.  Each production has been thoroughly entertaining and exciting.

One question we’re oft wondered is what it takes to be a Cirque du Soleil performer.  And while a lot of this was answered in the phenomenal reality series FIRE WITHIN on Bravo (seriously, it was awesome!), the question still remains about the physicality of what those performers do and how they do it.

So the other day, Web Watch was watching THE DOCTORS, where we found out exactly what the Cirque du Soleil producers look for in their contortionist performers.

If you have any of these abilities, you might want to give Cirque a call.

  • The performers start practicing their flexibility when they’re as young as 5 or 6 years old, practicing 2 hours a day, up to 6 days a week, for years
  • The typical contortionist’s spine is absolutely perfectly straight, with none of the curvature seen in a typical person’s back
  • There’s a 5-point test that Cirque looks for first to identify possible performers, and it all has to do with maximum joint laxity
  • Can you bend over and place your hands on the floor, palms down, completely flat?
  • Can you hyperextend your elbows, and bend your arms in the opposite of normal way?
  • Can you hyperextend your knees, and bend your legs in the opposite of a normal way?
  • Can you bend your wrist back so your thumb can touch your forearm?