Eskil Rønningsbakken (born 24 June 1979) is an extreme artist from Vallset in Stange, Norway. Rønningsbakken travels the world performing balancing acts at the tops of lethal drops, such as canyons and cliffs. His feats include tightrope walking between two hot air balloons in flight and doing a handstand on a pile of chairs balanced on a rock wedged in a crevice between two cliffs that were 3,500 feet tall. He practices yoga, meditation, and breathing techniques to stay focused, and prepares extensively for each act.
Ronningsbakken joined the circus at the age of 12, but has been practicing in various forms since the age of five, where, as the youngest of three children, he spent his time in the Norwegian countryside climbing trees and playing on rooftops. At an early age, when watching television, he was inspired by footage of an Indian yogi balancing, and decided to devote himself to the art. He later improved his craft under the tutelage of Moscow State Circus trainer Peter Jakob. He has also begun to teach others his techniques. Ronningsbakken has visited the slums of Nairobi in the hopes of inspiring lifelong confidence in the youth by teaching them acrobatics.
"What I do, is draw a picture with vulnerable human beings and their bodies, in the surrounding of mother earth."
How did you end up doing what you do?
I’ve never done anything but balanced. Many people already know at a young age what they want most in life, but they’re usually raised in such a way as to deny their talents and follow the mainstream. I simply went for my dream and did what felt right to me. I knew when I was five years old what I was going to do in life. It has been a long journey, being faithful to my own feelings and intuition has been extremely important. I’m not trying to tell that everyone should balance at the edge of a cliff, but to be what we are made to be instead of what we believe society expects us to be.