Monday, May 28, 2007

How do they do that?

The body is such an amazing machine, isn’t it? If you ever get to see the Cirque de Soleil, you’ll see the body doing things that you never imagined possible. I saw them in 1999 when we took a family trip down to Disneyworld. The show was great. And I’m going to get to see them again – my kids got me front row tickets for a show next month. What an amazing gift.

It’s funny though because as someone who has a very sore back, sometimes it almost hurts to watch contortionists go through their paces. I was never very flexible, even as a child, and I’m definitely not flexible now. How on earth do they get their bodies to do that?

I did a bit of research on contortionists and I found a lot of pages on training, training, and more training. They stretch and stretch their bodies to do things that we find painful to even watch. It even makes me flinch to see people with double-jointed fingers do their tricks.

Sometimes I wonder how a contortionist’s body ages. Since they’re doing unnatural (to us) things, is this particularly hard on the body? I read in a few places that their bodies are not abnormal. When talking about the joints, Wikipedia says, “Actual dislocations are rarely used during athletic contortion acts since they make the joint more unstable and prone to injury, and a dislocated limb cannot lift itself or support any weight.” It also says, “Muscle flexibility can be acquired with persistent training, as long as the shape of the bones in the joint do not limit the range of motion. There are a relatively small number of professional performers who claim they were not unusually flexible before undergoing years of intense training. Those who have naturally flexible joints, however, start out with an advantage, both in knowing that they have an aptitude for contortion, and the amount of flexibility they can eventually achieve.”

I don’t know. I had a hard time touching my toes when I was a child. Let me reword that: I couldn’t touch my toes as a child. I don’t think any amount of training or practice would have put me anywhere near the class of the Cirque de Soleil performers. Gives me all the more reason to admire them and their dedication to their art.

News for today:
Calgary boy dies after getting head stuck in car window
Hypnosis 'can ease bowel illness'

1 comment:

Sue said...

makes my body ache thinking about it.