Interview with Ana VelascoPerformers
Where did you grow up? What is your background with contortion?
I was involved with rhythmic gymnastics when I was very young but when I was teenager, I decided I preferred circus instead of rhythmic gymnastics because I was too flexible and handling the apparatus wasn’t my strength.
How did you get into rhythmic gymnastics, was it something your parents got you interested in?
No, they taught rhythmic gymnastics at my school.
How long have you been performing and in what kinds of places?
I have been performing for several years. One time I was in the final for a famous contest like Got Talent in Spain, it was called Tienes Talento. I got through to the final ten. I have performed at rhythmic gymnastics galas as well as various circuses including a circus in Santiago, Chile with lots of other performers from all around the world, mostly European countries.
Where are you performing at the moment?
I am performing online sometimes, and in the last year I performed contortion in a music video for the first time, near Barcelona. I also currently work with several photographers some of them are famous rhythmic gymnastic photographers like Barney Caroll and Manfred Engele from Germany. Later in the year I might perform at gymnastic galas. My photographer and I are thinking about going back to Japan also.
How did you cope during the pandemic?
Along with my acrobatic work I am also a public worker. I use my holidays from work to perform. I also worked from my home doing online performances.
How was recording the music video?
It is similar to other performances, instead of performing in front of the public you’re being recorded in front of cameras and you have to be at their disposal for the whole day while they are recording. In circus there is a timetable so you know when you are performing, music video filming isn’t like that as you’re there several hours or even the full day.
What or which performance was most memorable to you?
The second time at the International Contortion Convention in Las Vegas was very enjoyable.
Do you have a coach currently?
Yes, I have a coach called Rolf Zwicky from Switzerland. He saw my skills and saw I had a natural ability to do tricks like [the] Rupple, I never thought to do that trick but he encouraged me to do it and so I did. He teaches me over Skype mostly. He believes that with extreme flexibility like mine while strength is important it is more about control than just being strong. It is hard if you are too flexible when you have flexibility like mine the control is not easy.
What does your typical day of training look like?
I currently train twice a day for about 5-6 hours in total. My training isn’t tiring and I usually have YouTube to listen to in the background or watch DVDs while I train. I usually train all kinds of stretching and then finish with handstand practice. I am able to train at any time of the day, so the time that I practice doesn’t matter.
What or who is your biggest inspiration?
I have inspirations from Rhythmic Gymnastics in Amina Zaripova and Alina Kabaeva who had a contortionist style. They changed the rhythmic gymnastics code.
What is contortion to you?
When I was little I loved Japanese culture, anime and manga. My favourite was called Nights of the Zodiac: Saint Seiya. For me contortion is my way to become super human like the characters in the anime that I watched.