Amaze spectators with your incredibly flexible poses.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
Highly Variable

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Contortionists do?

Contortionists bend their bodies in ways that others cannot, twisting into pretzels and arching their backs until their feet touch their shoulders. If that makes you think “Cool!” rather than “Ouch!” a career as a Contortionist might be for you.

Options abound when it comes to the types of contortion you can specialize in. If you want to put on a high-flying spectacle, you can do a “Spanish web,” a performance involving a rope suspended high above the ground. Or, you can have others bend you into impossible shapes in a rag doll show.

Many Contortionists incorporate their skills into dance performances as part of a larger spectacle. Whatever direction you go, though, your success depends on your ability to amaze an audience.

The performance venues for Contortionists are varied. Large touring shows such as Cirque du Soleil employ many bendy people. Another route is to find your way onto the TV screen via commercials, or use your contorting skills to bolster an acting résumé. Contorting is a very unique skill that doesn’t involve just one distinct career path, but a great number to choose from.

It’s obviously a very physical profession, which means no sitting at a desk for you! This is great for people who hate cubicles, but the downside is that a Contortionist’s performance career probably won’t last longer than 10 or 15 years. After that, many Contortionists go into teaching, either at a circus school or by branching out into other areas, like yoga or pilates.

Should I be a Contortionist?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Persistent: You keep pushing through, even when faced with tough obstacles.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.

  • Also known as: Cowboy, Craniologist, Palmist

    How to become a Contortionist

    We recommend at least an Associate's degree. Check out these schools offering Contortionist-related education!
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