Contortion Studio NugaraⓇ is Japan’s first and only studio that specializes in contortionism.
We have been open for 15 years, celebrating the themes of flexibility and the human potential. Our goal is to raise awareness of contortionism as a culture and art form.
What is contortionism?
Contortionism is a special skill and performance often seen in circuses in which a person trains their flexibility to the limits and bends it freely to create beautiful shapes. In Mongolia, where it is especially popular, it is known as “artistic bending” and considered a part of the traditional culture. Breathtakingly beautiful curves are made with just the human body.
It is often characterized by its extraordinary flexibility but also performed along with handstand and balance techniques.
Contortionism is especially popular in Mongolia, where it is called “uran nugaralt” which means “artistic bending” and is a part of the culture. We named our studio "Nugara" in honor of the Mongolian word.
Our aims are:
“You have to be born with the ability to do it.”
“If you don’t practice gymnastics from an early age, you can’t do it.”
“It’s impossible once you become an adult.”
None of these things are true.
Our founder Ayumi had no experience with gymnastics as a child and started contortionism as an adult. Many adults who attend our classes have improved their flexibility regardless of whether they started in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, or 80s.
That being said, it is not easy to obtain ideal flexibility. It’s a fact that not everyone can do it, but for those who say “I want to take the challenge” we will do our best to support you.
About Our Classroom
Our classroom began in 2009 and in June 2015 we opened the first and only studio specializing in contortionism in Shinjuku Tokyo. Ayumi Moco learned Mongolian contortionism as a Japanese person and for the first time as an adult at the Mongolian National Circus School from 2006 to 2008. Afterward, she began working to bring the art form to Japan.
Since its establishment, a variety of students from kids to adults and hobbyists to aspiring performers have come and worked hard to improve their flexibility.
Our studio is equipped with handstand bars, contortion tables, aerial silks, aerial hoops, handstand blocks, and other essential tools for contortion training.
This is a place for those who:
✓ Want to try contortion
✓ Want to seriously improve their flexibility
In addition, many athletes involved in gymnastics, cheerleading, synchronized swimming, and other disciplines have attended.
However, this is not calisthenics or yoga and is not intended for healing or relaxation.
We teach a wide range of people from kids to adults and from hobbyists to aspiring contortionists. We are working in cooperation with Mongolian contortionist studios and circus companies.
In addition, contortion and flexibility training as well as various circus workshops are held. Not only members but visitors (non-members) too are welcome to participate.
Work Other than Teaching
In addition performances at events and the planning, organizing, and holding of shows, we also visit universities, model for photographers, and appear on TV shows, commercials, music videos and ads.
About the Leader.
I was born in 1984 in Obihiro, Hokkaido, Japan.I belonged to the archery club in junior high school, and the judo club in high school and university, and obtained 2nd dan in judo. I went to Mongolia when I was in high school and was greatly impressed by the acrobatics I saw for the first time.
After graduating from high school, I entered Tokyo University of Foreign Studies the Faculty of Foreign Studies, majoring in Mongolian. During my studies, I visited Mongolia again and stayed there for a long time. Following my grandmother's words, "If you are going to study abroad, you should learn at least one art", I decided to enter the Mongolian Folk Circus School and learn the "art of bending" (УРАН НУГАРАЛТ) contortion.
I practiced diligently, even though everyone thought I wouldn't be able to do contortions as an adult and would soon quit.My back hurt so much that I almost gave up several times along the way, but my flexibility improved so much that people around me were surprised, and I was even featured in local newspapers, magazines and on television.I accompanied the International Circus Festival and regional tours within Mongolia for about 2 years, while training flexible bodies on a daily basis.I found it fascinating to know that there is a way of life in the world where circus is a way of life.
I wanted to spread the bewitching and beautiful soft-bodied art of contortion in Japan, so I organized and carried out the 'Trip to photograph Mongolian contortionists in the Mongolian wilderness' once in 2007 and twice in 2008, with the help of Mongolian contortionists.After returning to Japan, I started holding regular contortion practice sessions in Tokyo, planning and organizing events and shows, performing in various media and teaching.
As I continued my steady activities, people who wanted to become contortionists gathered with me, and in 2015 I opened Japan's first “Contortion Specialist Studio Nogara” in Shinjuku, Tokyo. It is still the only studio of its kind in Japan.I aim to create a “contortion theatre” where people can watch and enjoy contortion, and I am currently teaching contortion with the aim of supporting self-realization and physical and mental health through contortion.
I have also visited Mongolia, India, Cambodia, Russia, Ukraine, Canada, the USA, China, South Korea and other countries to watch local circuses and interact with contortionists. I would like to continue to promote contortion in Japan by interacting with people from many different countries.
I went to Mongolia when I was in high school and was greatly impressed by the acrobatics "Mongolian Contortion" I saw for the first time.
Tokyo University of Foreign Studies the Faculty of Foreign Studies, majoring in Mongolian.
After graduating from high school, I entered Tokyo University of Foreign Studies the Faculty of Foreign Studies, majoring in Mongolian. During my studies, I visited Mongolia again and stayed there for a long time.
I entered the Mongolian Folk Circus School and learn the "art of bending" (УРАН НУГАРАЛТ) contortion.
Fouding the "Contortion Studio Nugara" in Tokyo, Japan.
After coming back to Japan, I opened Japan's first “Contortion Specialist Studio Nogara” in Shinjuku, Tokyo. It is still the only studio of its kind in Japan.