Newshub runs away to join Cirque du Soleil

It's a question many contemplate as a child: could I run away and join the circus?

A world of wonder, fantasy, and imagination. A world where the boundaries of reality blur and magic could be real.

I had the opportunity to answer to that very question when Cirque du Soleil's Kooza arrived in Auckland.

The show harks back to the original art of clowning. It follows the story of 'The Innocent', a character who takes a journey of self-discovery.

Little did I know that I would be taking a journey myself; one of discovering I wasn't very good at being a clown.

My first mission was to give contortionism a go. Until recently, I thought I was quite flexible - all those years of gymnastics surely contributed to something.

They didn't.

I learnt very quickly that Kooza's performances all had something in common: they would laugh when they explained what they did. It was evil.

It lured me into a false sense of security; letting me think I could attempt, and even succeed, at the very thing they've spent decades perfecting.

Kooza contortionist Ninkin Altankhuyag first showed me a humble handstand, before breaking into the splits. Sunderiya Jargalsaikkhan took it further with a very casual vertical split.

I thought I had seen it all, until I found myself reliving what looked like scene from The Grudge in real life. Even among contortionists, Odgerel Byambodorij is revered. She bent her body in ways the body should never bend.

My next attempt involved using something called a Cyr wheel - a metal disc that takes its name from Daniel Cyr, who first used it as an acrobatic apparatus towards the end of the 20th century.

Since then, Cyr enthusiasts have been attempting to perfect the act, one spin at a time, and Ghislain Ramage from France was no exception.

Ghislain informed me it would take three weeks just to teach me a basic spin. I informed him very quickly he only had three minutes. I did spin in the end, just not very well.

There was only one attempt left, and it involved hula hoops. Surely that wouldn't be hard?

Anna Stankus wasn't just an expert hula-hooper - if that's what they're called - she also incorporated my initial nightmare: contortion.

I gave it a go, much to the dismay of the cameraman, who fell victim to the first flying hoop.

I tried it again, but this time it was the big top tent that was squarely in the line of fire. I thought it best to stop before I really hurt someone.

If there's one thing I did learn, it's that Cirque du Soleil's performers are one of a kind. They operate with precision and skill; flawless with every movement.  

It really is the Olympics of circus. Fortunately for everyone, I didn't quite qualify.

Probably best to leave it to the experts.