Interview with Patrick IrakizaPerformers
What is your name, how old are you, and where are you currently performing/working?
My name is Patrick Irakiza. People often call me "Maguru the Boneless". I'm 22 years old and I live in Rwanda.
Where did you grow up? And can you share your initial experiences with contortion?
I grew up in Rwanda. As a child, I wasn’t familiar with contortion. I occasionally heard stories about yoga practitioners, and some people joked that they didn't have bones. Once, I saw someone contorting her body on a neighbor's phone. I was frightened, thinking she wasn't human. That's when I began trying back bending positions just for fun, becoming the only one in my village doing such acts.
What sparked your interest in contortion?
In my early years, after losing a mentor in yoga, I stopped back bending. However, in 2019, I watched a Chinese girl perform a Marinelli bend (a teeth-balancing act) on a talent show. That performance inspired me to rededicate myself to contortion, with a goal to achieve that extreme position.
How long have you been performing?
I practiced contortion for 4 years as a child and resumed it in 2019, so in total, I've been performing for 8 years.
What challenges have you faced as a performer?
My contortion journey has been demanding. I have ambitions, but lack the necessary support and equipment. Additionally, there's limited employment opportunity for my skills in Rwanda. I invest significant energy into my craft without substantial returns, which is challenging.
Which performance is most memorable to you?
My standout performance was on national television. It was then that my family truly recognized and respected my talent. Their words of encouragement were, “More blessings to you, son.”
How would you describe your performance style?
I'd describe it as the art of extreme physical flexibility. Simply put, contortionists can maneuver their bodies into seemingly unnatural positions without causing harm.
Are you currently performing solo or with a show?
I do both solo performances and group shows.
What's the best advice you've received in your career?
Work hard, believe in yourself, dream big, and never give up.
What advice would you offer young aspiring performers?
It's vital that the art of contortion continues for future generations. I'd advise young performers to:
- Have faith in God
- Believe in themselves
- Learn from renowned contortionists all around the world
- Work diligently and aim high.
These guidelines have been instrumental in shaping my career.
Do you currently have a coach?
I've never had a coach.
Can you describe your training routine?
Mondays are special to me. I often envision my Monday training on Sundays. If I succeed in my Monday routine, the entire week feels light and joyous. If not, it feels burdensome.
Is there a particular trick you're currently trying to master?
I'm working on maintaining the Marinelli bend position, using only my teeth, for an extended period. Currently, I can hold it for 5 minutes.
Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
My unwavering trust in God serves as my most significant inspiration.
How would you define contortion in your life?
Contortion is my life. It's a discipline that continually builds character. I cannot imagine stopping.