Contortionist Lilia Stepanova has the ability to pull her body into seemingly impossible positions and has won an army of admirers for doing so.
She is a leading figure among a growing group of similarly skilled women and men who are taking the burlesque and cabaret world by storm.
Stepanova has even starred on America's Got Talent and become a hugely in-demand performer. Her nature-defying act prompted Charles Barkley, of TNT Sports, to say: “Her act is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen.”
Most contortionists are categorized as either frontbenders or backbenders, depending on the direction in which their spine is more flexible. Relatively few performers are equally adept at bending both frontwards and backwards.
Many can actually dislocate their joints without pain to enable their apparently impossible contortions.
See our gallery of some of the world's best female contortionists below.