The cultivation and exercise of extreme ranges of movement. Contortion is as old as the hills, requiring no equipment and, variously, no training, supplementary training, or years and years of dedicated training depending on your genetics and start-point. The practice has a forked history leading back to mysticism on one branch and freakshows on the other, but within the contemporary circus scene its titan is the French artist Angela Laurier, who went through Cirque du Soleil and various other traditional circuses before coming out the other side to form her own company and make her first, coruscating piece about the schizophrenia in her family.
Bring on the gallows! A trapdoor in the floor is thrown back and the gallows carried in, fixed in place over a tank of water, and strung with a perforated metal box that contains two animate badger skulls (brothers). In punishment for their disobedience, they are lowered into the water and held there for several minutes.