Interview with a contortionist: Philipp Tigris

Hey Philipp!, What got your interested in Contortion to begin with?

Well, I was a six year old boy when I went to the circus the first time and I was absolutely fascinated about this world (mainly for the animals though) But I come from a doctors family, my parents made clear I was not allowed to visit a circus school. So I had to find something I could practise on my own in my room. So I started contortion without even being thrilled about it. But it doesn’t need props, it wasn’t scary or dangerous and didn’t need much space….so I gave it a try. Started to be fun as soon as my feet touched my head the first time 🙂

How long have you been performing?

I started my contortion training as seven year old. That’s 38 years ago now.

My first paid job I did when I was 17. And my first 3 months contract I did when I was 23. I would count this as the start of my professional career. So it’s 22 years now

Photograph of contortionist Philip Tigris. Taken by Late Night Tales

What have been your biggest challenges as a performer?

Hard to say. Over the years there were quite many challenges. The constant touring, contracts with 9 shows per week or Christmas contracts over three months without off days.

My last big challenge for sure was the marinelli bend or the triplefold (well that one still is a hell of a challenge)

What advice would you give young people trying to get into performing?

Be open minded and watch as many shows and performances as possible. You can learn from everyone you see on stage, even if it’s not your preferred style or way to perform.

And be true to yourself! This job is only worth it if you really love your performance. Put your heart in it! You will be great when you are you!

And last but not least be kind with you body. It’s your tool, the only one you have. It does incredible things for you. So you should treat your body with respect and love

Photo of Philip taken by Late Night Tales

Do you have a coach currently?

I‘m completely self-taught. I never had a coach.

I did have one amazing private lesson for one hour with the wonderful Catie Brier last year. And hopefully I get the chance for some more in the future.

Photograph of contortionist Philip Tigris taken by

Are you performing with a show or solo currently?

Well both actually. I‘m freelance performer. My acts get booked in different cabarets, variety shows, circus shows or corporate events. I am in rehearsals right now for a show that starts touring through Germany in January and will tour for 11 months, maybe even two years

What is your biggest inspiration?

My biggest inspiration is simply my love for bending. I have an unusual amount of motivation for training I‘m afraid I don’t have one particular inspiration. So many incredible artists in my life that inspire me in a way. I find inspiration in music I hear, movies I watch, shows I see or people I work with.

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