BY JACKIE STRAWBRIDGE
A world class contortionist has arrived in the Borough with plans to bend the minds of audiences across the United States.
Swiss contortionist Nina Burri said she moved to Long Island City earlier this summer. Having already performed on the Swiss and French versions of the competition, she made her American debut Tuesday on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.”
Burri appeared on the show during its audition round in June, receiving rave reviews from judges Howard Stern, Heidi Klum, Melanie Brown and Howie Mandel.
“You know what seemed to be missing from that act? Bones,” Mandel said at the time.
Burri’s path to the “America’s Got Talent” stage has brought her across the globe and through many fields of performance. After working as a ballerina, commercial dancer and circus performer throughout Europe, Burri moved to China to study at Beijing’s International Arts School, which has produced some of China’s finest acrobats.
She said she became a contortionist to gain more control over her art and career.
“My wish was strong to be a soloist, doing my own work,” Burri said. “As a ballerina, you are usually in a big company, there [are] a lot of other girls that follow the instructions of the choreographer.”
“Here, I can express myself as I wish. I have to please my audience, that’s the only thing,” Burri added.
She also noted that she enjoys contortion because it is “so crazy, so extreme – I can go always further and further in my development…[it] keeps you in shape and makes you alert of your body. It’s very satisfying.”
For Burri, performing for an American TV audience represented an opportunity to expand her brand.
“I decided one year ago I wanted to go on in my career and I was thinking America would be a very good option,” Burri said. “I went to audition [at] ‘America’s Got Talent’ because it’s a huge chance for me to be seen by American people and introduce myself to the American entertainment industry.”
Tuesday’s show, taped live at Radio City Music Hall, marked the last round of quarterfinals. She competed against several dance teams and singers, a magician and a child card-thrower, among others.
“I hope [the audience] has fun watching it, they feel some connection, and that I go in their hearts,” Burri said. “And vote for me, of course.”
Reach Jackie Strawbridge at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JNStrawbridge.