Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Luzia’ twists dream into reality for contortionist

Aleksei Goloborodko was just four years old when his parents first took him to see the circus.

“When they took me to the show, I fell in love with [the] circus. I think it’s [a] pretty basic story,” said Goloborodko, who grew up in Russia.

It is a basic story up until that point. What happened afterwards is not quite so basic.

Goloborodko was so impacted by what he saw at the circus that he asked his parents to take him to a circus studio. That’s when a coach first noticed his natural ability to bend his body in unnatural ways.

“He was like, ‘OK, compared to other kids, you’re pretty flexible. Let’s try to develop this discipline,” recalled the now 24-year-old.

Contortionist Aleksei Goloborodko in Calgary on Aug. 14, 2019.

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The discipline Goloborodko refers to is called contortion.

“At that time, I didn’t care what discipline I would do. I was just in love with circus and I was like ‘OK, let’s do whatever you say.’ That’s how it started,” he said.

Just as quickly as he’d fallen in love with the circus, Goloborodko fell in love with the way he could bend his body. By eight years old, he’d seen his first Cirque du Soleil show and knew what he wanted to do.

“I told myself, ‘Aleksei, you should be part of this,’” he said of joining what some might consider the ultimate circus.

Contortionist Aleksei Goloborodko in Calgary on Aug. 14, 2019.

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Four years later — at age 12 — he got the chance to audition for Cirque in Moscow.

“Since then, Cirque has been following all my performances and all my career,” said Goloborodko, who has earned the unofficial title of World’s Most Flexible Human and recently heard from the folks at Cirque du Soleil.

“One day, they just called me and asked if I wanted to join them and, of course, I was happy to say yes and here I am.”

He is currently in Calgary in Cirque du Soleil’s travelling production of ‘Luzia.’

Goloborodko plays a mythical Mexican creature originally derived from a dream. It’s a fitting character for his first Cirque production.

“It was my dream and now I can say I’m living my dream,” said Goloborodko with a laugh.