Beginning Contortionist: Meet Lex Boyd

Challenging the structure of the natural human body


In preparation for their contortion class, sophomore Lex Boyd builds their stamina by running through their poses and stretches in the gym. Equally an outlet and source for their stress, contortion plays a major role in Boyd’s life. “Working out has especially helped me to build not only my strength but more importantly my confidence to excel in my contortion journey,” Boyd said. Photo Credit: Lex Boyd

Paizley Swaney, Staff Writer

People spend years waiting for success to find them. However, Lex Boyd ventured into their personal breakthrough after just a week of intense training and commitment in the gym. With their forearms holding balance beneath them and the rest of their body in the air weighing over them, Boyd is able to curl their lower-body directly over their head at a ninety degree angle. After experiencing the rewarding sensation of just one breakthrough, Boyd has committed themselves to a long-term dedication to contortion.

Their first introduction to contortion was after becoming a member of the K Star Training Academy of Las Vegas.

“One of my old friends’ uncles owned the place and I ended up getting into it because I thought, ‘This is really nice and you’re gonna be there, so let’s do it together,’” Boyd said. “She moved away, but it was something I grew to feel really passionate about so I ended up staying.”

With zero previous experience and a history of limited flexibility, Boyd was hesitant to begin their journey alongside a group of seasoned performers in the industry.

“In contortion, you’re separated into levels one through five, and I’m [on level] two,” Boyd said. “We all train together though, so I often find myself comparing myself to levels three, four, and five even though I’ve only been there for not even seven months and they’ve been there for between two and three years.”

In an attempt to catch up with their team and move forward in their level status, Boyd has started to attend K-Star Academy about six times a week for four hours on average, rather than their previous routine of going one or two days a week at most.

I’m always pushing my limits.

 “I don’t give myself breaks very often anymore,” Boyd said. “When I do it’s only for a day or two so I don’t fall out of rhythm, but I’m still going to the gym on those off days.”

Dismissing their well-being in place of their attendance at contortion practices and the gym, Boyd feels their physical expectations come first.

“I always want to make people proud so taking a break feels as if there is no option,” Boyd said. “I want to make progress and achieve what I think I am capable of faster so working hard all the time seems to me to be the best option.”

While emboldened by the idea of pushing themselves to new-found boundaries, Boyd is aware of the toll it may be taking on their body. 

“I’m always pushing my limits. My teammates and I make jokes with each other [to cope] with the stress, or sometimes I just ask my coaches for random bathroom breaks,” Boyd said. “Sometimes I’ll talk through the stress too, but other times I’ll just accept it and push through as best as I possibly can.”

Practicing poses that use every muscle of the body, Boyd has had to adapt to the unfortunate effects of physical burn-out. 

“The myths of contortionists being able to bend their bones aren’t that far off,” Boyd said. “It takes a lot of stretching the muscles to the point where the body is so completely stretched out it can do basically anything without feeling the effects of it.”

While some may face overwhelming emotions with a full schedule, Boyd’s biggest concern is maintaining a balanced state of health in all of its forms.

“[My coaches] taught me to use my passion and ambition for mental strength, because a lot of the things that we do when doing contortion takes a lot of mental strength,” Boyd said. “It’s not just about going through the pain, but actually getting yourself through it [by] keeping our body strong and healthy.”

Having such strong family-like ties to the people they have met along their journey at the academy, Boyd brings their personal life into play when using the advice of their coaches to work through tough situations.

“[My coaches] constantly tell me to slow down and take my time with what I do, so I usually try to use that advice and not push myself so hard in everything I do,” Boyd said. “It’s extremely hard for me to get out on stage or on my platform though because I criticize myself so deeply, but [after the performance] my coaches assure me that I did well and they are proud of me for doing new and harder things every day.”

If I’m good enough, I want to do the same and perform on the Las Vegas Strip to overcome my anxiety of big audiences.

Between the reflection of coaches, parents and personal pursuance, Boyd pushes themselves, despite their personal self-doubt.

“I think it’s weird that Lex can bend their body the way they do but I can’t wait to see what she accomplishes next,” father Adrian Boyd said. “It’s really unusual to me to watch people do it in general. It is like a chill down the spine moment for me every time.”

With the great opportunity at their fingertips, Boyd is looking into well-known local entertainment as a future place of employment for displaying their talent.

“I went to one Cirque Du Soleil show of my coaches before and it was just really fun and exciting to watch and be a part of,” Boyd said. “If I’m good enough, I want to do the same and perform on the Las Vegas Strip to overcome my anxiety of big audiences.”

And though they are quick to move forward in their success, Boyd reminisces to the days where a younger version of themselves would fantasize about doing the simplest of tricks. 

“What makes contortion special to me is the fact that ‘little’ me thought she would never [be able to] do the splits. Knowing I can do it now, and even more through contortion, is really special to me,” Boyd said. “My coaches and friend who got me into it helped and inspired me so much and showed me the strength and beauty that comes with [the art].”