'I am truly a circus child'

EQUILIBRISTIC contortionist Maria Sarach, 20, has been performing in the circus since she was 14. Under the watchful eye of her mother Tatjana, Sarach started her training at the age of four.

She is at present visiting South Africa as part of the Moscow Circus.

Sarach, who twists and contorts her extremely supple body into unimaginable positions, told Sowetan: "The circus is my life. I am a real circus child.

"My mother, who is from Serbia, met my Russian father Alexey while performing in the circus. They fell in love and married."

Sarach, who has two brothers, said they have lived very different lives from most youngsters.

"We travel every week, every month and every year," he explained. "We go to many different towns, countries and continents. It can be difficult but it is our life and we love it. We love our work."

Sarach performs with her mother, father and six other people in an act in which they balance on sticks that rest on people's shoulders.

Her father Alexey has succeeded in achieving a world record that is noted in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Speaking of her future plans she said: "I want to take part in the festivals that take place in Paris and Monte Carlo.

"I also need to constantly change my act and include elements I have never attempted before because this type of act is very competitive.

"My mother performed as a contortionist for 40 years. I hope I can follow in her footsteps. I train up to five hours a day so that my act remains professional."

Sarach will perform with the Moscow Circus at The Big Top Arena, Carnival City, until April 11.