Catie and her Husband Sean formed Catie Brier Contortion LLC in 2018. However, Catie has over 10 years of experience as a world-renowned flexibility and contortion instructor. As a former professional contortionist, Catie created a unique contortion program at Circus Center in San Francisco, which garnered a lot of attention.
From there, Catie established the "Contortion Intensive," a one-of-a-kind passion project that turned into an intensive summer training program specifically for contortionists for an impressive five-year run.
In 2018, after forming their company, Catie and Sean took their business (and son) international. Catie's highly personalized, safe, and practical techniques have attracted students at-home in Munich, throughout Europe, and Beyond!
Now, with an awe inspiring community of 100k+ followers on Instagram, Catie is breaking new limits with her programs and setting new contortion standards worldwide.
So what are you waiting for? Come join the Shrimp Army and let's make you bendy!
Where the dream started
Catie started her training at her mother’s dance studio, training in ballet, jazz, and modern dance 6 days a week. She attended many intensive dance programs including 2 years at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet’s summer program. She was later accepted into the Alvin Ailey summer program, which she ultimately turned down in favor of a visit to the San Francisco Circus Center… but more on that later.
During her dance years, Catie was introduced to contortion by a friend - as this was pre-YouTube days. She immediately fell in love with the discipline and started self-training by watching early Cirque du Soleil videos on repeat (she doesn’t recommend this, but there were no coaches and she had a dream, dammit!).
Catie's Origin Story
Performer, competitor, and dancer
Before signing her life away to contortion, she performed in countless dance performances, competed in Power Tumbling at the Junior Olympics, and choreographed dance and contortion routines for herself and her peers.
During this time she trained in many different disciplines with numerous dance teachers, tumbling coaches, hand balancers, aerialists, and contortionists. This was the very beginning of her interest in different coaching styles, and she was able to learn so much from having the privilege of training under so many professionals with unique perspectives and skill sets.
Circus & Contortion
When she was 16, she decided to pursue contortion as a career and moved across the country to train at the only circus school in America at the time: Circus Center in San Francisco, CA.
At first, Catie trained under the master Chinese coaches. But the Chinese style of training* was incredibly harsh, and shortly after arriving, she was pushed too hard (physically) by the coaches and ended up with a back injury that caused her to have serious back pain and lose a lot of her natural flexibility.
After that, Catie continued to perform, back injury and all, but took a break from being coached, as she now had serious scaries about people pushing her too far.
*In the circus community, the Chinese style of training is notoriously extreme
A new & safe perspective for thousands of students
In the years leading up to this decision, she learned about the importance of training from the ground up rather than forcing flexibility, and she knew she could teach with a fresh perspective. She didn’t want anyone to suffer the same fate as her, and with so many coaches out there just focused on pushing people to the (literal) breaking point, she wanted to be the voice of change in an industry steeped in tradition and master coaches using outdated techniques.
And that’s how we got here! Many highs and lows, unique learning experiences, and the wisdom of the good and bad coaches alike. With these experiences, Catie has been able to teach 1000s of students how to safely pursue the art of contortion, and continues her work to change the mentality around stretching and contortion training.
Teaching out of passion
Finally, at the persistence of a close friend, Catie started working with Mongolian contortionist Serchmaa Byamba, who was able to help her get back some of her flexibility and gain a lot of new Contortion technique. During this time Catie learned (through trial and error) a lot about training flexibility and what did and didn’t work. As well as many secrets of the Mongolian contortion style.
Although Catie was able to continue performing and training for a few more years, her back injury was ultimately the victor. Which sucked. She wanted to be a performer! And after some serious sadness and reflection, Catie decided to channel her energy and passion into teaching people how to SAFELY improve their flexibility.