Are you a creative writer? Then send me your contortion story. It could be:
- Made up
- Real experiences
- Unreal or abnormal
IMPORTANT! The story must have a flexibility and contortion theme. Your story can be written in German, English or French. It should contain more than 1000 words. Each new story will be rewarded with a free (month’s) membership to Zlata.de
Your story will be entered into this year's story competition.
The prize will be: annual membership to Zlata.de and the new Zlata calendar.
Contortion has developed through many milestones in recent years – the once circus-focused physical art has grown into a more widespread art platform, appearing in more popular venues such as the theatre and television, with the select few even going so far as to entertain some peoples’ sexual fantasies with fetish photography.
However, contortion is more than just art – to those involved it is a way of life. It spices up everyday life, from watching television while in the splits to sleeping with one’s own legs wrapped around their head, and also helps with general health in wellbeing. With contortion bringing in money as well, it can be one of surprisingly few ways to have a sustainable life from something one just does all day.
Yet while contortion is so beneficial if one just maintains their flexibility and their lifestyle, there are some contortionists that want to achieve more. They train everyday to increase their flexibility above and beyond what was imaginable, and expand into yet even more areas to potentially express their flexibility. There are also some who push their flexibility into the most menial of situations, such as office work or travelling on transportation. And there are some that take a completely different approach with contortion.
* * *
Viorica was tired of performing contortion day in and day out. While her routines were astounding and her flexibility even more incredible, she just wanted a change of scenery. She held onto this feeling in secret for the last two years of her contortion career, and it came to a complete surprise to the contortion community when she finally decided to leave and become a teacher.
However, Viorica wanted more than to just be a teacher. Travelling from her homeland of Romania to the United States, she set her sights on teaching people what she thought was the true beauty of contortion: the adaptability to life. On her own she gained a degree in teaching with a minor in physical education, all the while extending onto her already near-limitless flexibility.
So it came to no surprise that Viorica had no trouble getting a job as a substitute gym teacher at a middle school; Her education plus her years of experience in contortion more than making up for her foreign heritage. And the fact that there was no intention for a new permanent gym teacher for the entire year made it all that much better for her. She couldn’t wait to teach, or rather train, her first students.
* * *
Viorica was extra-prepared for this day than any other. Waking up at six in the morning, she trained for an hour straight, getting limbered up as much as she was possibly able to so that she could impress her new students. After that, she quickly got changed into a tight yet respectable outfit before heading to the school.
The students were already in the gym when Viorica arrived at their first session, just like she had hoped. After a quick peek to check if they had all settled, she ducked out of their line of sight outside the door and bent backwards, shifting all her weight onto her hands as her legs dangled over her shoulders. With a few careful steps forward to prepare for the backbend walk, she headed inside to greet her students.
“Good morning everyone,” Her strong Romanian accent filled the gym to the quiet and shocked stares of her students. “I’m head over heels to finally meet you all.” Slowly, so as to keep her balance, she headed to the wall in front of them.
“As you may already know, I am Miss Rom, your gym teacher for the year,” She said to the students, purposefully ignoring their lingering shocked looks. “But as you probably didn’t know, I used to be what is called a ‘Contortionist’, which is someone who bends like this for a living.” She paused to shift her hips into a more comfortable position behind her neck, then looked towards one of the girls at the back of the class with a smile on her face. “Could you please be kind and grab me a chair to rest on? My arms are getting a tiny bit tired.”
The girl worriedly ran to the side of the room to retrieve a chair, still too shocked about Viorica’s flexibility to do anything else, then slid it underneath the teacher before returning to what appeared to be her small group of friends.
“Thank you,” Viorica mouthed to her, then returned her attention to the class as she eased herself into the chair, still in the tight backbend. “I feel that since you’re all too surprised to really do some actual gym today, I feel I should just answer any questions you have until this session ends.” She cracked her head from side to side, chin rubbing on her thighs. “But before you do...”
Taking a deep breath, Viorica reached forwards with her arms and pried her shoulders through her legs. She could really notice the familiar feeling of her thighs squeezing against the sides of her chest as she pushed her head up to view the students, most of which were trying to keep their jaws from dropping. Wriggling her shoulders to inch the final few centimetres into the pose, she knew that today was going to be a very interesting day, not only for her, but for her students.
* * *
It was now the lunch period, and Viorica was busy getting into her lunch in the teachers’ lounge. Reflecting on her day so far, she found that the students enjoyed her presence and contortion... at least after they recovered from their initial shock. She felt confident that with at least one class she could teach them-
“Vie-or-eeka?” One of the teachers asked curiously, “Why are you sitting like that?”
Viorica looked down and to her side at her foot, which was idly rolling its ankle by her hips. She had sat down with her leg behind her back before getting her food out, and it had attracted a bit of attention from the other teachers in the room.
“I have to keep my flexibility up somehow,” Viorica replied, lifting the leg by her hip back up and over to switch it with the other, “And my name’s pronounced ‘Veu-reeka’... like ‘Eureka’ but with a ‘V’ at the start.”
“Okay,” The teacher said, leaning back as he returned to his own lunch, “But you’re still going to get a few looks from us.”
Viorica shrugged her shoulders as she returned to her lunch. She didn’t mind people watching, as after eight years of professional contortion she had gotten used to people staring at her flexibility.
* * *
The following week, Viorica entered the gym to the first class she saw that year – one of the few grade eight classes at the school. However, instead of showing off her contortion skills, she walked casually in front of the students with a thick binder tucked under her arm.
“I feel that it’s about time to show you the plan I’ve set up for the year,” Viorica said to the class, who were slightly disappointed that she didn’t enter in such an entertaining manner as last week, “You see, contortion is not just a way to entertain people, it can also be a way of life.”
She sat down on the hard wooden floor of the gym, opening her legs into a straddle split. She could notice some of the pubescent boys in the class already raising their eyebrows.
“If you work hard enough on it, you could do things such as sitting like this or keeping yourself warm by wrapping your legs around your neck. Even if you don’t, you’ll still be really healthy later in life.”
She gave a pause to allow this information to sink in, as she noticed one of the boys in the middle of the class raise their hand.
“Yes... Ben?” She asked him.
“It’s Luke,” He corrected her, “Anyway, what about us guys? Contortion really seems weird and more for girls.”
“Just because more females are contortionists,” Viorica rashly replied, shocking not only Luke but the other students, “It doesn’t mean males can’t be too. I’ve known quite a few male contortionists, and they are some of the kindest and funniest people I know.”
The students were rather surprised at how forceful Viorica delivered her response and sat in silence for a moment, all of them too scared to respond. Looking at their shocked expressions, Viorica gave a deep breath to calm herself down, then continued.
“Anyway, since I am the teacher I’m deciding what you’re doing this year,” She told them, then gave a small smile, “But I’ll make sure to please you guys by adding in some dodgeball or something like that every couple of gym periods.”
Luke’s group of friends looked at each other and nodded approvingly.
“Great,” Viorica responded to Luke and his friends, then returned her attention to the rest of the class, “So for the rest of our time here, I thought I’d share my life with you, and how I got into contortion in the first place...”
For the rest of the period, Viorica explained how she got into contortion as a child after talking to one of the most famous contortionists of her period, and how she moved from that to gymnastics, as well as why she returned to contortion. She showed them photographs and articles that were taken of her, as well as some autographs of celebrities that she met through her contortion performances.
The class, on the most part, didn’t really seem to enjoy Viorica’s story, however a select few like Laura – the girl that Viorica asked the previous week to grab a chair – were intrigued by the events in her life. Even if most of them were just checking the clock until the period ended, just having Laura and others like her still interested in Viorica’s life really added to her day.
* * *
Another week passed, but the contortion training for the class was only just beginning. Organising the reluctant class onto an organised series of mats, she guided them through a series of basic stretches to warm up then, with her legs slowly kicking against the back of the chair as she sat on her own head, she asked each of them to try and stretch as far as they could. Some surprised her, such as Luke being flexible enough to get into the splits, but others like Laura were expectedly lacking suppleness.
However, this did not faze Viorica. She knew that this sort of variation was expected, and had already devised a training routine that would not only train every student to their limits, but also to accommodate for the wide variety of flexibility of each student as well as leaving them with enough energy afterwards to continue on with the rest of their day.
It started off slow at first, for obvious reasons. Most of the students only made it look like they wanted to try, and they didn’t really get into the stretches. Some actually did try to stretch and increase their flexibility, and while it was nice to know that people were taking the effort to learn contortion. It did pick up pace soon, especially after one period soon after the training started.
It was about two months after they started. There were slow advancements with the students, some managing to get into the splits themselves, and one or two just managing to touch their toes. However, tucking her feet under her shoulders to guide the students into a simple bend, she heard a shout of “Miss Rom” coming from Laura. Getting up and seeing her, she noticed that Laura, who was having trouble gaining flexibility from the start, had managed to touch her feet to her head.
“Great work, Laura” Viorica congratulated, “I knew you had it in you. Keep it up.”
From the start, Viorica really liked Laura. She was one of the few that were actually willing to learn contortion, and she had the look of someone that was dedicated every time that Viorica saw her. It sort of reminded her not only of some of the best upcoming contortionists she had seen in her time, but also of herself when she was just starting out. Even with only seeing each other during the gym periods and passing each other in the hallways, Viorica already felt like she was bonding with the wannabe contortionist.
With Laura getting praise from Viorica for her achievements, the rest of the class surprisingly picked up their efforts to become more flexible. They developed their skills faster and faster, each period having at least one student managing to reach a pose; they worked themselves harder than Viorica had anticipated, becoming evidently sore by the end of the periods; they even showed signs of practice outside the periods, each time surprising Viorica with their leaps in flexibility.
However, while by the time they had all managed to get basic splits, frontbends and backbends down, the unusual training of Viorica was becoming evident to the parents and other teachers. The students were becoming more focused with contortion, distracting themselves in other classes by bending around in positions that the teachers would have thought of as uncomfortable if they had never met Viorica. They were failing to do homework and spending more time with their fellow classmates in external stretching sessions. Even though the class was enjoying contortion, it annoyed the parents and teachers greatly, enough to the point where it was seen as a problem to them.
Then the fateful day came. During one training session Viorica received a note from a messenger, which told her that she had to attend a Parents and Carers meeting about the problems that her training was causing. Reluctantly reading it out to the class with her legs tucked behind her back, she heard the audible groans of the students, who all opposed this decision.
* * *
So here she was, sitting in a small chair in the gym filled with hundreds of parents and teachers, each with their own complaints about Viorica’s contortion training. She squirmed uncomfortably, knowing that they were most likely going to end her teaching career, at least at the school.
The loud rumble of frustrated parents quietened as the principal of the school stood up.
“So we’re here tonight to discuss about Miss Vee-or-eeka Rum’s unique teaching style,” He said to the audience of parents as he looked directly into Viorica’s eyes, a stern look on his face. “Her supposed ‘Contortion Training’ for one grade eight class, while effective in helping her students’ physical health, has also been effective in causing distractions in many other classes, as well as eliciting complaints from the parents of the students.” He paused for a moment, before turning to speak to Viorica. “Is there anything you would like to say, Miss Rum?”
Slightly embarrassed, Viorica quietly stood up to face the parents behind her.
“One of my hopes when becoming a teacher,” She said, “Was spreading my experience to the students I cared for. I only wanted them to try it out and understand that contortion is not just an artform, but a way of life, and I was unaware that they would respond this way to what was intended to be a semester of training.” She paused for a moment to hold back some tears. “Everything you have accused me of doing was entirely on their own doing, and I am proud of them and their enthusiasm.” She turned around to face the principal. “If you wish to prevent me from teaching contortion, then do so, but don’t prevent them from stopping something they enjoy.” Quietly, as the parents mulled, she sat back down.
“Well, thanks for your input Vee-or-eeka,” The principal replied, slightly impressed by what she said. “Would anyone like to respond?”
“I would,” Said a shy, yet familiar voice from towards the back of the gym. Turning around, Viorica noticed that the voice, as she guessed, came from Laura.
“Miss Rom, from the start, only wanted to show us the true enjoyment of being flexible,” Laura said, moving out into the aisle to head towards Viorica. “And while it started off rough, it was no worse than being forced to dance, and after getting used to it, it turned out a lot better than I thought.” Once in the aisle, she did a walkover – which surprised Viorica – before continuing, “It’s not her fault that we worked on it a lot further than she expected, and we even had to pressure her to go outside her comfort zone by really going hard at it during our gym periods. If anything, it’s solely the fault of us, the students, that’s causing the problem.”
With that, she stopped next to Viorica and draped her arm over her shoulder in a comforting manner.
“Well,” The principal said, surprised at Laura’s brave defence of Viorica, “It seems that it’s just a matter with the students, however,” He looked at Viorica, the stern look returning to his face, “You may want to guide your students into how they could manage their contortion training better, so that they don’t distract from other parts of their life.”
“I’ll make sure to,” Viorica said with a smile, as she hugged Laura’s side.
* * *
The rest of the year turned out quite smoothly. After teaching the class how to properly train outside of the gym periods without interfering with other people, Viorica continued encouraging the improvement of her student’s flexibility. They were at the stage they could train on their own, leaving her to work on her own flexibility, often just chatting with Laura and other classmates while in a deep bend.
Viorica, whilst enjoying the company of her students during the training sessions, also noticed that towards the end of the year that their flexibility in general had improved immensely since they started, going from basic splits and toe touches to deep chestbends and oversplits. It made it even harder when the year ended and the training with them ended, however she was slightly relieved when they asked her to train with them during the holidays. She had to admit, as she said goodbye to her students for one last time, that they were some of the kindest people she had ever hoped to meet during her first year with the middle school.
* * *
It was eight years later. In this time Viorica had earned the permanent position as a gym teacher for the school, and while she was “encouraged” by the parents and staff to work with a traditional gym routine with her students, she continued to bend and stretch in front of them. In fact, she expanded her contortion training into every facet of her time at school, from walking down the hall in a deep frontbend with her head perched on top of her hips to sitting in chairs with her shoulders sticking through her thighs. Her persistence to bend, as well as her generally calm demeanour, made her known at the school as the “Quirky Contortion Teacher”.
However, towards the end of her eighth year, she decided to focus more on dedicated contortion training, signing up with a nearby circus skills school to teach contortion to those who were more willing to learn it. It was a tough choice for her, considering how much she enjoyed teaching, but she felt that it was more appropriate and satisfying after remembering how well her first year of teaching went.
She did decide to stay for the reunion that year, though; half to perform on last time for the school, and half to see the students she trained contortion to in her first year of teaching. She had organised with the staff for one last show, and on the night of the reunion, she got dressed in an old leotard from her years as a professional contortionist and stretched for an hour before getting onstage.
Her performance was short, but something she poured her heart and soul into, keeping a calm and serene atmosphere, she flawlessly transitioned from tight frontbend to wide oversplit to deep backbend without pause, hardly even breaking a sweat. Then, to finish it off, she did what was thought to be completely impossible and entirely unimaginable and tucked herself into a backbend so deep that her entire ribcage managed to poke through between her thighs. Panting heavily, she managed to hold onto it for a full ten seconds before straightening up and taking a bow, invoking a huge wave of applause from the audience. Yet while she did a bend that would amaze even herself, she was slightly disappointed, as no-one in the audience looked like they were from that first class she taught.
She headed outside, grabbing a towel to dry the beads of sweat off her head while in a cool night breeze. Leaning against a wall, she looked to her side and gave a slight sigh of relief, noticing the formation of people near her.
These people were from that grade eight class that she taught contortion to, but instead of greeting Viorica with a warm smile and handshake, they instead took a more creative approach: each of the now twenty year olds were in a particular contortion pose, from splits to cheststands, but the centrepiece was something that just astounded Viorica. There, perched on top of someone in a bridge, was Laura in what Viorica would consider to be a perfect triplefold.
In sheer joy of them, particularly Laura, Viorica warmly thanked them all... except for Laura, who she picked up and hugged, while still in the triplefold.
“Thank you,” Laura said reaching around her legs to return the hug, “For showing each of us the true joy of contortion.”
“And thank you Laura,” Viorica replied, a single tear rolling down her eye, “For making my time here as a teacher one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.”