When we talk, Ramarni Levena is in Belgium - the fifteenth country he has visited in the past three months as part of Cirque du Soleil’s show Ovo.

“We’ve got Ireland next so that will be 16 and then it’s back to the UK,” said the former gold medal winning gymnast. “So yes, it’s all been a bit of a whirlwind.”

At 18, Ramarni is the youngest of the 52 performers in Ovo which is back in Manchester next week as part of its first UK tour in six years.

The Bolton News: Ramarni Levana in Cirque du Soleil

Inspired by the biodiversity of the natural world, Ramarni is one of the high-energy crickets who perform gravity defying tumbling routines on the floor of the main arena. He first got into gymnastics at the age of 12, training with the Birmingham Gymnastics Club and by the age of 15 he was part of the Great Britain tumbling team, winning gold in both World and European championships.

“There is an attitude in the UK that if you get to the highest level in gymnastics, usually the Cirque du Soleil comes next,” he said. “Not everybody ends up getting a spot but it’s a big thing and I always knew that it was what I wanted to do.

“It’s definitely a once in lifetime opportunity to be able to perform and do gymnastics and travel and be with such a great group of performers. It is really special and I’m so grateful to have been given the opportunity at the end of last year.”

Having been at the top of his sport, was it difficult for Ramarni to make the move from gymnastics to Cirque du Soleil?

“It wasn’t that difficult to be honest,” he said. “Tumbling isn’t an Olympic sport which many people don’t realise and I’d been part of championship winning teams.I knew I wanted to do this and that sooner or later was going to happen.

“I’m just so grateful that it happened at such a young age when my body is in its prime and I can enjoy the benefits of doing such a cool thing.

“I think I did have a little bit of doubt once I’d committed to Cirque du Soleil but that’s only natural, but not a lot of people go back to competitive gymnastics after being in the show.

“I know for sure that I will not be doing that. I just love being part of it.”

Ovo is a spectacular show which has been enjoyed by more than seven million people around the world. Featuring world class gymnasts, acrobats, circus performers and artists it’s a visual treat.

“It’s very different from competitive gymnastics, that’s for sure,” laughed Ramarni. “I’m used to being around other gymnasts but not everybody here is a gymnast. We have people with a circus background and people doing manipulation, contortion all sorts of amazing things. There is so much variety and the performers are all so skilled at what they do. To be part of that is really special.”

As the ‘baby’ of the outfit, how has Ramarni been treated by his fellow performers?

“They look after me,” he said. “Actually we all look after each other. We live together and work together - it’s like a big family.”

He may have left competition behind, but Ramarni’s training regime is tougher than ever,

“We definitely put lot of effort into eating healthily, working out and flexibility and stretching. Our job is not just to fling ourselves down the stage; we have to look after our bodies and make the right choices.

“It’s big stage we can run around it for up to three and a half hours so you have to be in good shape.

“As one of the crickets I perform on an air track which runs across the floor of the arena. It’s top notch equipment which makes it a little bit easier on the body. But it can de difficult doing eight to 10 shows a week but the reaction you get back from the audiences makes it so worth it.”

Although performing with Cirque du Soleil was always an ambition, Ramarni had never seen the show before he joined.

“I’d never watched it before,” he said. “As soon as I got here they said ‘act like a cricket’ so I did. I think that’s the best thing to do – just go full throttle into it.

The Bolton News: Cirque du Soleil Ovo and (Picture: Vlad Lorenzo)

“I really enjoy the performance part of it, it’s something I wish I could have done a little bit more in gymnastics but competitive gymnastics is a little bit more serious than this.

“Here you get to play around and experiment and have little bit more fun. I might have gone straight into it but I’m definitely a full-blown cricket now!”

Ovo is a veritable United Nations of a show with performers from 25 different nationalities.

“Everyone respects each other’s cultures,” said Ramarni. “It’s something that the rest of the world should perhaps get on board with.”

With its base in Canada, French is the official language of Cirque du Soleil.

“I’m getting there with that,” laughed Ramarni. “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. As I say, I’m working on it and hopefully by the time we go to Canada I’ll be OK.”

Ramarni is particularly pleased to be able to part of Ovo during its UK tour and he’s expecting to se family and friends at the shows.

“It’s going to be nice for people to be able to see the show and come back stage and see what I do for a living day in and day out,” he said.

“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.”

With the UK being the 17th stop on the tour you might think the performers were due a break, but after the UK, the show heads off to America for the rest of the year.

“I’ve never left Europe before so that’s going to be an amazing experience.” said Ramarni. “There is a lot of travelling and sometimes we have to ask each other where we have just been but it’s definitely worth it - what an experience.

“I’ve always been a magnet person so I’ve been collecting them as we have toured around but I’m running out of space on the fridge. I think I’ll have to find something else to collect - either that or buy a bigger fridge!”

Cirque du Soleil’s Ovo is at Manchester Arena from Wednesday until Sunday, March 31. Details from www.cirquedusoleil.com/ovo