Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - LOCAL FOCUS -

IT takes a very con­fi­dent in­di­vid­ual to wear the con­tor­tion­ist cos­tume in Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza.

For­tu­nately 21year-old Odgerel Byam­badorj has no qualms about slip­ping into the beau­ti­ful but skin-tight body suit she has worn since join­ing the show al­most seven years ago.

The Mon­go­lian con­tor­tion­ist is the youngest per­former in the Kooza cast, which has set up its fa­mous blue and yel­low Grand Chapi-teau at Bel­mont Race­course.

Un­like many in the cast, Byam­badorj does not come from a cir­cus fam­ily and sim­ply started con­tor­tion as a hobby when she was eight years old.

“So many peo­ple do con­tor­tion in Mon­go­lia, I would see it on tele­vi­sion,” she said.

“My grand­par­ents and I de­cided I would give it a try as an af­ter­school ac­tiv­ity.

“Kooza came along and my coach told me it had these po­si­tions and we were go­ing to train. It had al­ways been my dream to work just once in a Cirque du Soleil show.” Byam­badorj joined the cast when she was 14 and jug­gled her per­for­mance com­mit­ments be­tween fin­ish­ing her school stud­ies through the Cirque du Soleil tour­ing school, a school pro­gram the com­pany no longer runs.

“Dur­ing the day I’d go to school here and then per­form in the show at night, go home and do my home­work,” she said.

“I’d of­ten be study­ing in­be­tween shows with my make-up on.”

Byam­badorj said it took 45 min­utes to warm up be­fore the show, do­ing ba­sic stretches and try­ing out the tricks the con­tor­tion trio per­form in the show. Af­ter­wards there is a 30minute cooldown with Pi­lates ex­er­cises and they also have a weekly train­ing ses­sion.

Byam­badorj said she loved that Kooza was a light and happy show for au­di­ences com­pared to some of Cirque du Soleil’s darker of­fer­ings. WHAT: Cirque du Soleil's Kooza WHERE: Bel­mont Park WHEN: April 14 to June 11 TICK­ETS:

Pic­ture: Matt Beard

Odgerel Byam­badorj with Cirque du Soleil con­tor­tion­ists in Kooza.

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