At first glance it looks like she’s folded in half. Her bum cheeks rest on the crown of her head, the back of her head is tucked into the crease of her back while her feet dangle over her eyes. Sound bizarre? Wait till you see the pictures. Anastasia Evsigneeva has for years been fascinating her followers with her jaw-dropping flexibility.
Now a video of her doing the most dangerous and difficult positions in contortion has gone viral.
It took the 28-year-old contortionist three days to learn the deadly twist called the Marinelli bend. The Marinelli bend sees the performer supporting their entire body weight by biting onto a mouth grip attached to a short post in a backbend position. Anastasia, originally from Russia, admits there’s a risk she could die every time she does the backbend but that hasn’t stopped the daredevil pushing her body to the limit. “People injure their necks and that can injure the spinal cord, so it is very dangerous,” she says.
Anastasia has been bending her body into all sorts of shapes since the age of five but only started taking contortion seriously in her teens. At 17, she realised her body was more flexible than her peers. She started practising backbends at home while doing every day household tasks like peeling potatoes, typing at her computer and filing her nails. Eventually Anastasia started training with a professional and now she flexes her skills for fans on social media.
But not everyone has the stomach for her pliability. “I get a range of
reactions, from disgust and repulsion to shock and surprise and admiration,”
she says. She admits some of her friends can’t bring themselves to watch her
bend her body into such bizarre positions. “Even my husband got headaches
knowing I was practising the Marinelli bend,” says Anastaia, who lives with her
husband in Canada.
“He got used to it over time and now he’s more supportive of me practising it.”
To pull off the move, Anastasia uses a mouthpiece made of leather. The piece is mounted on a metal pole and connected to a steady base. She then grips this leather piece between her teeth. At first, the move hurt her mouth but with practice the pain went away.
“During my first three tries I couldn’t fully balance alone, but on my seventh practise I got my hands off the floor and performed the full Marinelli bend,” she says proudly.
Her record is 36 seconds, which relatively short compared to the world
record of four minutes and 38 seconds. But for Anastasia, there’s always more
room for improvement. “I consider 36 seconds to be a good amount and I’ll keep
practising,” she says.
Her bizarre body bends will certainly continue to raise eyebrows – and interest.