- Overseas Travel: Adventure Experiences A – ZPosted 4 years ago
- Don’t Miss these 5 Authentic Experiences in MoroccoPosted 4 years ago
- The Shocking Truth about the Maldives: On a Budget? Listen up!Posted 4 years ago
The Contortionists of Mongolia – Photo Essay
Photos and words: Christine Schindler
Enter the strange land of Mongolia – endless steppes, rolling hills, nomadic ger tents, galloping horses and contortion. Yes, that’s right, contortion, the art of stretching and bending the body into unusual and various shapes, lines and positions. Mongolian contortion is a cultural practice that is unique to circus arts. Merge ancient Buddhist animal poses, traditional Mongolian ‘Biyelgee’ dance, and Russian ballet into contemporary circus and you’ll have the exquisite art of Mongolian contortion. In Mongolian, contortion is as common as ballet to the western world, and instead of dreaming of tutus and pointe shoes, Mongolian girls aspire to be world-class contortionists. Mongolia has produced some of the most magnificent contortion acts in the world, namely, in circus companies as Cirque du Soleil.
Unlike other forms of contortion, which aim to astound and horrify the audience with their awkward and unnerving positions, Mongolian contortion uniquely expresses itself through dance – from traditional to contemporary. Each movement between poses is fluid in finely tuned positions right to the fingers and tiptoes. It has a grace, form, poise and fluidity that exhibits the beauty and capability of the human body.
Although many Mongolian girls are gifted with a natural flexibility, all must undergo vigorous training, exercise and diet to maintain flexibility. Watching a Mongolian contortionist will leave you inspired by the courage and strength of the performer’s grace and poise. You may not be able to decipher the legs from the arms. You’ll be moved to tears by the defined movements. You’ll stand in awe of the timely and graceful movements of this traditional art.
More information: A contortion performance can be seen every night from May to November with the Tumen Ekh Ensemble at 6pm beside the National Amusement Park (behind Seoul Club).
About Christine Schindler
Christine plunged into the world of photography in 2011. After studying under a couple of dynamic and talented photographers. She has lived and travelled extensively in Europe, Asia, and Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Science and Arts (International Relations) and is currently pursuing her own career as a photojournalist. She is currently in Eastern Europe exploring unknown travel routes. Her interests include documenting the personal aspect of culture and environment, and the changing traditions of society.
Read more about Mongolian culture and traveller adventures in Mongolia in our free magazine app!