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Double-jointed girls bend the imagination

Published time: June 12, 2009 11:53
Edited time: June 12, 2009 11:53

For hundreds of years contortionists have entertained crowds in Mongolia. The combination of gymnastics and circus antics is a form of art which requires its masters to start at a very young age.

Contortion was recognized in Mongolia as an art form sixty years ago, and for the two girls, Dengtseng Hun and Dorch Hun, touching their ears with their ankles is child’s play. They bend like rubber, performing for audiences in Mongolia and around the world.

The two girls say there’s no secret here:

“The key is to be ready for long and very tiring practice and most of all never give up.”

Not giving up is perhaps the hardest part. Almost half of all the students who start training to be contortionists quit within the first year.

Girls start studying contortion at a very early age – just five or six years old, but life in circus academy is often very difficult. Exercises on stretching and various other difficult elements that they use to perform test the girl's endurance, sometimes to the point of tears.

Their coach Noran Sambo – once a contortionist herself – says the main thing in not to do any harm to the youngsters.

“We even start with the breathing techniques and only after that move on to stretching. And it is also vital to distinct the natural abilities from the results of hard work,” she said.

As a result of their determination the young girls from Mongolia are winning prizes at circus festivals around the globe.

Now that contortionists are spearheading Mongolia’s artistic reputation, more and more young Mongolian girls are dreaming of fame and glory.