Modern and historical pictures of extremely talented and fantastic contortionists.
Contortion (sometimes contortionism) is an unusual form of physical display which involves the dramatic bending and flexing of the human body. Contortion is often part of acrobatics and circus acts. In general, "contortionists" have unusual natural flexibility, which is then enhanced through acrobatic training, or they put themselves through intense, vigorous and difficult training to gain this flexibility.
In some countries like Mongolia, many people (mainly girls) learn contortion because of a passion or as a career as it is considered a nationally respected art form that holds cultural importance. Contortionists usually start practicing from an very early age (Though in Mongolia the minimum acceptable age is 5, as they believe any younger and bone deformities can be caused due to growth factors). Some sports also, Rhythmic Gymnastics for example, demand extreme flexibility but not the hand balancing skills or performance skills of a contortionist.
German contortionist Ivanka, trained by Gerd Rasquin (“Show Sternchen” school, Hamburg, Germany)