The first time Ninjin Altankhuyag saw Cirque du Soleil perform, she wept.
“The show was really magical and beautiful,” she says by phone from South Korea. “I really wanted to be a part of it.”
The Mongolian national watched Koozå, the Big Top spectacular created in 2007, on video. She went on to audition for the 50-strong cast by video herself. There was a five-year lag, then, at 19, she got the call. She’s been touring the globe as a contortion artist with Koozå ever since.
Altankhuyag, 23, began learning contortion, a traditional artform in Mongolia, from the age of 5. “I saw a girl on TV and I told my mom, ,Mommy, I want to do that.’”
Lessons paused while she lived in North Korea, where her father was a diplomat. She says her four years at the embassy were “calm, quiet… it was just like normal life”. She kept up her practice, and studied ballet, winning a silver medal in North Korea’s international circus competition. Now she travels 10 months of the year, with a month or so at home to recover. Next stop, Aotearoa.
“It looks very beautiful,” she says, having seen the country only in photographs. “I have always wanted to visit.”
Home / Away Perform / Observe Teach / Learn Sing / Dance Gold / Silver Animals / Children Sight / Sound Money / Fame Dreams / Reality Day / Night
Air travel / Road trip Tea / Coffee
Guilt / Regret Dinner / Dessert Notoriety / Obscurity
Cirque du Soleil’s Koozå plays at Alexandra Park, Auckland, from February 15-March 17. Ticket prices begin at $69. See cirquedusoleil. com/new-zealand/auckland/kooza.