My Contortion Journey
As a child, I remember being amazed by the contortion acts when the circus played on TV. I was very young, and I grew up in a small village in the countryside of Gran Canaria. At that time, I never imagined that I could ever achieve any of amazing feats that I saw on TV, especially because I was not that naturally bendy.
I was always very creative though. I used to wear my family's clothes, and I started dancing all by myself, until the age of 12 when I joined the theatre company at school. There was not much bendy stuff going on there, but at least it was an entry into the performing arts. Eventually I went to college in the island capital, and I got to attend ballet classes in the most prestigious classical dance school in Gran Canaria. Obviously they did not pay any attention to me because I was a total amateur! At that time I was 18 years old, and I was told I was "too old" for ballet.
I was amazed by the flexible dancers, and they heavily inspired me to stretch. I arrived every day 4 hours early to start stretching, and in 4 months I got my splits...all self-taught. No one was telling me how to stretch - I was just copying everyone else. In the ballet classes as well, I hardly received any corrections from the teachers. Again, I just copied the other dancers. Soon I moved to a smaller school where the teacher paid more attention to me, and I was even cast in some acts for the annual "All Schools Festival." There I saw the dancers from Ballet Maspalomas, who were all very flexible with incredible lines. I was immediately inspired to train with their coach Conchy Rodriguez, and I then joined her flexibility classes. I was by far the least bendy person in the class, but it was the first time that I managed to attend a class dedicated to becoming more flexible. Today I still use some of Conchy's exercises.
Somehow by attending dance schools I eventually achieved flat splits, which I thought was my limit, but I still wanted to get even more flexible. Amazed by the gymnasts, I decided to start gymnastics classes. I joined the best gymnastics gym in Gran Canaria, and I learned a lot of active flexibility exercises there. Some of these exercises I still use today, but the best thing about this gym was that the main coach was also teaching aerial circus which I got so addicted to. I saw aerial training as another step forward in my performer's learning process.
I was already 31 when I moved to London. It took me a while to find a circus school, but I found a job as a volunteer at Aircraft Circus, and this job allowed me to take some classes and to carry on with my aerial training. Through this school I also met a couple of performers who connected me with some events, one of which was Cirque le Soir. In this company I met the incredible contortionist Iona Luvsandorj, and I was amazed by her. I was so impressed that I could see in person what I had only seen on TV as a child. Surprisingly, Iona was teaching contortion classes. She said that I would definitely improve my splits with her classes. Excited again, I started my training with Iona, and yes I improved my splits a lot! Because of this improvement, I started thinking that maybe it wasn't too late to become a contortionist after all. A couple of years later when I was 36, Iona started helping me with my back flexibility. She said that my backbends would improve, but nobody expected me to achieve what I have gone on to achieve today.
These days I have taken classes with some of the biggest names in contortion: Jasmine Strada, Catie Brier, Jonathan Nosan, Pixie le knot, Orissa Kelly, Hannah Finn, to name just a few, and I have learnt something from every one of them. I am very thankful to all of them, and I am also thankful to my dance teachers and gymnastics coaches who helped me a lot along the way. But what also helped me to become a contortionist was my strong courage, my passion for the skill, and my unstoppable drive to improve. And that is something I show in all of my classes. Apart from having a good combination of ballet, gymnastics and contortion techniques, I encourage my students to work hard and believe that everything is possible. If I did it, you can do it too!
My classes are especially designed for people who have started or who want to start their contortion journey as an adult. However, after 6 year of teaching in circus schools, pole studios, dance schools, and even teaching flexibility for dance degrees, I can say that my classes are beneficial for everybody, wherever they are on their journey.
If you have been told that you are "too old," "too tall," or "too anything" to become more flexible, prove them wrong like I did! Join my classes. Let me be part of your "bendy journey." And you will be a part of mine too. Because I evolve as you evolve and we will all grow together.
Set your goals -> Follow your dreams -> Succeed
From my bendy world to yours with love