Back in 2012, Anna Misztela had graduated from university with a degree in culture studies and was a fitness instructor in Poland; but even in her wildest dreams, she would never have guessed she'd end up where she is today.
After only three and a half years' training, 27-year-old Anna is now an acrobat touring the world. "When I told my friends [I was training to be an acrobat], they were all surprised … 'Are you crazy?! You're 24 and you don't even know the basics of dancing, acrobatics, or gymnastics, how are you going to do this?'"
"You'll see," Anna told her friends at the time.
"I always believe in myself, if I want this, I will do this," she told Young Post. This week, Anna and her husband, Lukasz Misztela, are performing at IFC mall. Lukasz has trained as a gymnast since he was nine, and was on the Polish national team for eight years.
The two met when Anna stopped Lukasz on the street one morning to ask for directions; 47 days later, they got engaged. Anna asked him to teach her some tricks, just for fun, but it turned into something much more. As well as finding a husband, she fell for his job. "I fell in love with [acrobatics], so crazy, so fun," she recalls.
Lukasz, 31, started training Anna from scratch, and was surprised when she pulled off the splits in her first month. "She is stubborn in a way. She is eager to prove she can do it, but it's also good motivation," says Lukasz. Now they perform as a duo. "I'm a partner, husband, and coach. Three in one, like coffee," he says.
Last year, they performed on Mam Talent!, the Polish version of Britain's Got Talent. After training 10 hours a day for eight months, the duo made it to the final round.
The couple wanted to perform something unique, something they can do together, and that they can be proud of. They decided on adagio and the Cyr wheel, which they've also brought to Hong Kong.
Adagio is where two people do acrobatic balancing tricks together. Dancing to romantic rhythms, the Misztelas' adagio performance tells a love story. "We are selling emotion when we perform … it's just Anna and me," says Lukasz.
The wheel has always been a common tool in acrobatics, but the Cyr wheel - a single ring made of aluminium or steel - is relatively new. Lukasz bought their wheel from Daniel Cyr, who invented the device in the 1990s.
After spending hours watching YouTube videos of expert Cyr wheel artists, Lukasz mastered those skills, and then taught them to Anna.
"It's very fun and makes me very happy, which makes it easier for me to spend long hours practising," Lukasz says. "In a way, we are athletes: we practise a lot in the gym, we try to stay in good shape, we watch our diet."
Anna adds: "But we are not crazy about the physical training, we care more about the emotions and movements."
It's simply more enjoyable performing for an audience who can connect to their emotions, rather than performing for judges who have to follow strict rules to grade him, says Lukasz.
The duo also love that their craft lets them perform around the world. "I've always wanted to travel a lot and to do things differently from everyone else," Lukasz says.
Like most tourists, they take plenty of photos on their trips - the difference is, their pictures have crazier poses, something Anna clearly loves.
In every city, Lukasz enjoys practising outdoors, and curious people always gather around and watch them. "He likes the attention," Anna teases.
Lukasz explains: "We are like dolphins, they jump higher when they hear the crowd clap."
Travel and applause are definitely the upsides of their job, but they also enjoy bringing happiness to people.
"I like performing at IFC," says Lukasz. "I like how shoppers just stop and start watching; if they enjoy it, they stay till the end."
"They forget about the world and the problems in their lives, they just enjoy and have fun," says Anna.
Anna and Lukasz Misztela will perform at IFC mall until Saturday, December 26, 2015. If you go check them out, post your pic on Instagram or Facebook and tag us with @youngposthk!