Mongolian child contortionists stretch for international success

News Hour:

Nine-year-old Mongolian schoolgirl Suvd-Erdene spends four hours a day perfecting the art of doing a head-stand on a pole clenched with her teeth and push-ups without her feet touching the ground.

She and about a dozen team mates are training in a basement in the capital, Ulaanbaatar, to be contortionists, a revered art that Mongolians say was developed in the palace of 13th century warlord and national hero Genghis  , reports Reuters.

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Usually performed by females, the discipline involves twisting and stretching the body to the extreme.

The diminutive Suvd-Erdene makes the moves look easy having completed years of grueling training that began with intensive stretching exercises when she was six.

“I cried when my teacher made me do the stretching exercises, at that time I felt really discouraged,” she told Reuters.

The girls are given time off school to train down a drab Ulaanbaatar back street under the guidance of 22-year-old Urangoo, a third generation contortionist.

Urangoo took up training young contortionists after her own hopes of hitting the big time and performing abroad ended when she suffered an injury at the age of 12.

Mongolian contortionists are in high demand and performers may be vaulted into an international career if they are lucky enough to be spotted by scouts from theatrical producers like Cirque du Soleil.

For Suvd-Erdene’s team mate Shinezul, becoming a contortionist is also a matter of national pride.

“It’s the Mongolian people’s dream to introduce Mongolian national culture and art to the whole world, so that’s why I want to be the best contortionist in the world,” she said.

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Md. Rafiuzzaman Sifat, a CSE graduate turned into journalist, works at News Hour as a staff reporter. He has many years of experience in featured writing in different Bangladeshi newspapers. He is an active blogger, story writer and social network activist. He published a book named 'Se Amar Gopon' inEkushe boi mela Dhaka 2016. Sifat got a BSc. from Ahsanullah University of Science & Technology, Bangladesh. He also works as an Engineer at Bangla Trac Communications Ltd. As an avid traveler and a gourmet food aficionado, he is active in publishing restaurant reviews and cutting-edge articles about culinary culture.
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