Express & Star

I spoke to the teen gymnast returning home with Cirque du Soleil and was amazed how chilled he was

A former Team GB gymnast will be performing in front of his home crowd again this month but this time as a cast member of Cirque du Soleil.

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Ramarni Levena is coming back to Birmingham

The international phenomenon is coming to Birmingham from April 26 to April 28 and Ramarni Levena is looking forward to briefly being back in his home city.

The 18-year-old has already wowed crowds across Europe as part of a mammoth world tour of Cirque du Soleil OVO stage show.

He told the Express & Star: "I can't wait to perform with Cirque du Soleil in Birmingham, all my family and friends will be there so it should be an extra-special performance."

Ramarni became a star gymnast after training at the Birmingham Gymnastic Club in Perry Barr and after excelling at tumbling represented England and Team GB. He competed at the European and World Gymnastic Championships and won gold medals, however, tumbling is not part of the Olympic gymnastics programme so he missed out competing in Tokyo.

After leaving Team GB, Ramarni got the call from French Canadian-based touring show Cirque du Soleil, the UK is already the 17th stop on the world tour.

He said: "I was delighted to be invited to join Cirque du Soleil as it is such an honour because they are world renowned for their quality when it comes to performance.

"I will get to see the world whilst doing the thing I love so the next few years will be amazing. I went lots of places with Team GB but I have already been to new countries already but I can't wait to go to North America for the first time later in the year."

Ramarni is the youngest member of the 52 strong cast and is enjoying the adulation of the audiences. OVO is based on the insect world and Ramarni is part of the climax of the show when the crickets bounce in unison on trampolines in breathtaking style.

He said: “It is hard work and I have to be at my best every night, but training for world championships as a gymnast was the perfect training, that is why Cirque du Soleil have so many world class gymnasts.

“It’s one of those things that you think you know what it’s like but then you watch it and realise it is so much harder than it looks.

“You have to be at the top of your level whatever discipline or format you do to get to this stage. Everyone is so talented. My favourite act is the contortionist - it’s crazy; it’s nothing like you would see anywhere else. I’m just surrounded by some amazing people.”

Cirque du Soleil is the largest contemporary circus producer in the world and has several shows touring the globe simultaneously. It was founded in 1984 by former street performers Guy Laliberté and Gilles Ste-Croix and from its base in Montreal created shows which can be enjoyed in any language and astounding audiences with high-flying gymnasts.

The official language of the company is French and Ramarni is improving his language skills with every week.

Ramarni Levena is coming back to Birmingham

He said: "It’s definitely something I’m working on. I found it hard at school to just sit down and learn a language but when you are hearing it in conversation every day, you do get a better understanding of it.

"But I am looking forward to hearing some Brummie voices again when we are in Birmingham."

Cirque du Soleil OVO is at Birmingham Utilita Arena from Thursday, April 25 until Sunday, April 28, and tickets are available

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