Like a lot of girls, Vivian Mikes developed an interest in gymnastics at a young age.

"I watched gymnastics on TV and it looked like a lot of fun," she said. "I thought it was something I could do. I like to move around a lot. I've got a lot of energy."

For the last four years, Vivian has taken gymnastics classes.

But the Stevenson Elementary School third-grader has added a twist to her gymnast activities that is more than routine: She's developing her skills as a contortionist.

She performed a drill March 2 as one of 18 finalists in the Arnold Quest for Talent Competition. The contest for youngsters was held at the Ohio Expo Center as part of the Arnold Sports Festival.

"You have to do an act that lasts between two and four minutes," Vivian said. "Mine lasts about 2 minutes and 20 seconds and I put in a lot of contortionist moves, a dance and some gymnastics, too."

The various twist and turns she puts her body through in her performance -- including putting her legs over her head -- don't faze her, she said.

"I'm pretty limber," Vivian said. "I usually don't feel any pain at all. The only problem is if I stay in a position too long."

The most nerve-wracking part is performing in front of a big crowd, she said.

"The Arnold Sports Festival draws so many people," Vivian said. "I just decided to concentrate on doing my routine and not think about all the people."

Vivian did not place in the competition, but she still came out a winner, said her mother, Andrea Mikes.

"She was one of the youngest people competing, and some of the other contestants have a lot more experience, but this was Vivian's first competition and I think she did really well," she said.

"I was a little worried that she might have stage fright, but she handled it with no problem," including when the masters of ceremonies asked her questions, Mikes said. "Both Michael (Vivian's father) and I were so proud of her."

About 30 friends and family members attended to show their support for Vivian, Mikes said.

"We were the only ones that had signs," she said, adding Vivian's sisters -- Camille, 4, and Lilia, 6 -- were there to cheer her on and gave her cards of support.

"It was a real family affair," Mikes said.

As with gymnastics, Vivian said she was inspired to engage in contortion by watching footage of someone else practicing the performance art.

"I saw this video of Sofie Dossi on YouTube," she said. "She was a contestant on 'America's Got Talent,' and I just watched her performance over and over. I thought that was something I could do, so I decided to try it."

While being a gymnast helps with her agility, "doing the contortions has really made me better at gymnastics," Vivian said. "You really begin to develop flexibility and that makes gymnastics easier."

Vivian is dedicated to her new passion, said Lisa Colahan, her third-grade teacher.

"You can tell she's really excited about it," she said. "She likes to talk about it with her classmates."

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