There is flexibility and then there is flexibility to the nth degree.
And it is this exceptional talent that will be on showcase at this years Ridge Meadows Home Show.
Caara van Wyk teaches the art of contortion. The owner, director, and teacher at Blue Crane Contortion, describes contortion as the art of extreme flexibility and strength of the body.
“They make pictures with their bodies,” she said of her students.
Van Wyk, who admits she wasn’t the most flexible child, trained hard at the skill.
“You can train your body to do amazing things,” she explained, adding that the style of contortion she specializes in is about stretching, overstretching, and conditioning of the body – including exercises the strengthen the core.
Van Wyk, herself, performed at the Home Show, before taking her act on cruise ships and travelling the world.
What she loves most about contortion is the feeling of flexibility.
“I love the feeling. I love the adrenaline,” she said about the sport most often characterized by acts in the famous Cirque du Soleil.
“The mobility of your body feels good,” she said. “I feel stiff on days that I don’t stretch.”
For van Wyk and her students performing in front of an audience is what they crave the most.
At Blue Crane, everything from aerial silks and tumbling are taught to students.
She teaches children as young as 3 – but, she emphasized they are not training in contortion.
“They are learning the base of the acrobatics. So, if they go to gymnastics, they are probably going to learn the same stuff from me,” she said. And, she added, at that age they are still only learning to listen and follow instructions.
However, because the body and muscles are developing, the sooner a student starts the easier it is for them when they get older.
At the Ridge Meadows Home Show, van Wyk will have a team of between 50-60 students who will be combining their dance and balance skills in a performance to music.
This will include a few of her pre-professional students, who are already working in the industry.
Depending on the weather, she might also have an outdoor aerial rig set up for demonstrations.
The art of contortion is really difficult, said van Wyk.
“You have to have a true passion for it,” she said. “Because you are pushing your body to the extreme.”
Blue Crane Contortion and Acrobatics will be taking to the Family Fest Stage at noon and again at 2 p.m. on Saturday April 30, and then at 2 p.m. on Sunday May 1.
The Family Fest is free to the public.
Tickets to the Home Show are $5 per person and $8 per family.
The Ridge Meadows Home Show takes place from 4-9 p.m. on Friday, April 29, from 10-8 p.m. on Saturday, April 30, and from 10-4 p.m. on Sunday, May 1 – at the Albion Fairgrounds and Planet Ice at 23588 Jim Robson Way.
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