M.Munkhtuya: Ballet is the art of mind, as one has to dance what has been created in mind.


2015-08-24 12:17 GMT+8

We have invited the ballerina of the Mongolian Opera and Ballet Academic Theater M.Munkhtuya. Not many know that her spouse is danseur at the same theater O.Gantsooj.

-What was the character you have mastered out?
-As of current, I cannot say I have mastered this or that character. I am more on a fighter side. Recently, I danced Don Quixote, but still was not satisfied with my performance. I went to my teacher and promised to dance it out to perfection.

-When was the start of your career as ballerina?
-In 2000 I joined the ballet classes at the Music and Dance College. Of course before that I always had my mind on dancing. My elder sisters have convinced me to attend the entrance exams at the Music and Dance College. I had no idea about ballet at that time. Fortunately I have passed the exams and joined the ballet classes. Since the very first year I have fallen in love with ballet. I understood that it was the art to convey beauty and sense.

-Probably the first exam was one of the most challenging ones?
-Indeed. During the exam I first met with Prima Yu.Oyun and Balletmaster D.Dashlkhagva. They have said that I was beautiful and had long legs. I was very excited at that moment.


-How much is the gap between the principal and ballerina?
-I am soloist. Principal dancer is the main soloist that leads the whole performance. Besides dancing the role of a principal is to convey the meaning of the ballet to the audience. Moreover, the principal is the best of the best and carries more responsibilities.

-It seems that baller dancers are very patient. It should be hard to stay all day long on the toes...
-There are moments when it gets frustrating. At first it was hard as my legs and toes would get wounded on top of learning all the routines. Ballet is the art of mind, as one has to dance what has been created in mind. Therefore, it requires a lot of thinking and physical work. Many say it is 99 percent of work and 1 percent of talent. To me ballet is about the talent, mind, patience and hard work altogether.

-Where are you standing in reaching your dreams?
-Only at 50 percent. There are lots of things I want to do as ballerina. Ballet is not about learning the routines. It requires learning all the way.

-Is it possible to assess a ballerina through the characters?
-It will be lacking if to assess only by the characters one dances. This is my thought. Some might think that one is good as she danced in white swan. To me it is more important how the audiences received the particular performance. The performance should move the viewers.

-What is your dream character?
-I dreamt about dancing white and black swans when I was in school. I thought this was the summit for ballerinas. But I have changed my mind when it was time to graduate. I thought that it is not necessarily my goal. I realised it is more important to have a goal and go for it.


-Feelings of stepping on the stage for the first time?
-My first stage was during my school years. I was nervous and frightened a little bit. Even now I have nervousness before every performance. On stage it feels like my eyes open. I leave 'me' behind the curtains and flow into the character.

-Were there mistakes during the performances?
-There were many. We have a rule to continue no matter what on stage. We have no way out and we just have to carry on our routine.

-Applause inspires us the most. Applause means that my performance has moved the audiences and I have delivered the emotions.

-What has given you the most inspiration to carry on as the ballet dancer?
-Support and inspiration our teachers gave me. Moreover, I was most inspired by Michidmaa, who is frequent at the theater when she said that I looked good in the role of black queen.

-Ballet to you is?
-Ballet is the art that conveys beauty in its perfection.


-The main attribute of the ballet dancer is the physical beauty and talent?
-Indeed. But one does not have to be perfect in every way. Ballet is a classic art, therefore its requirements are high.

-Which character was the most opposite from you?
-May be the black queen. I am not a harsh person at all.

-In the movies ballet is displayed as very harsh art and there is fierce competition going on among the dancers behind the curtains. Is it true in real life?
-In Mongolia there is no such thing. There are only 36 dancers currently. Still we manage to stage the classics on Mongolian stage. Everyone has busy schedules. In other countries, one dancer plays only one role in a ballet, while we have to dance four different roles in one ballet. Therefore, there is not much competition in Mongolia. It is important to dance the role perfectly. Other than that there is no such negative atmosphere here.

-You said that you are more of a fighter. Were there moments when you cried when you had failures?
-I have cried many times. I cry when I cannot learn the routine. I will fight until I perfect the routine.


-Your spouse is a ballet dancer as well?
-Yes. My spouse is the danseur O.Gantsooj. It is very convenient to work together. We support each other a lot as we understand our profession. We will advise each other and help on the routines.

-have you danced together?
-Unfortunately no. I am tall and it does not suit for us to pair.

-Some say that spouses get bored of each other when working at the same place?
-Indeed many ask us if get bored of each other. We have never had a hint of that thought.

-Do you get jealous of your spouse when he performs with other ballerina?
-Not at all. This has never a problem for us. It is his work to fall in love with different characters during the performances. Many also ask if he gets jealous. We are more like partners on stage.


-When you have met your husband first?
-We have met at Music and Dance College. We were attending the same class. When he left for studies to US in 2007 we have become close. We have been together for 15 years and are married for seven years now.

-Probably it is impossible to express how you are proud of him?
-I am indeed. I am proud of my talented spouse every time he delivers the heartfelt performance.

-Since both of you are artists you have to be very romantic couple?
-Yes, we are.

-When he has surprised you the most?
-We have two children. When I gave birth to our daughter he came to the hospital with a car full of balloons. I had long delivery at that time. This was the most memorable moment. He brings me flowers after every performance. 

-How old are your kids?
-Our daughter is five and our son is 14 months old.


-Being ballerina is harsh and it requires to postpone having the children?
-Indeed. Most of the famous ballerinas postpone having kids. When we first have found out that we are to become parents we had long discussion and decided to have children. I am proud of Mongolian ballerinas. Many foreign dancers postpone having family, while we do our work even if we have two kids.

-Probably it is due to the strict requirements to shed the baby weight in a very short amount of time?
-Yes. It required a lot of patience from me to shed 44 kg, because I have gained that much during pregnancy and weighed 98 kg. We have to get back to our work in two months after delivery. So it was a huge challenge to me. I have tried every sports and been busy. It was mostly the matter of a psychology. I am an optimist. It helped me a lot and helps now as well.

From Facebook Page of M.Munkhtuya

-It is clear that women part is the most important in a family?
-My sister helped me a lot with baby. She would nag that children of artists always get less attention from their parents. I always try to be good wife, good mother and good dancer.

-Would you support if your daughter chooses ballet?
-We are against, but she is very interested in ballet and she attends ballet classes. We want her to become a pianist.

-Since both of you are dancer you dance in different settings?
-We do. We dance a lot with our friends and sometimes at clubs as well.

-You had won the beauty pageant as well?
-In 2007 I won at the Miss Mongolia beauty pageant. The participation in that pageant was accidental. I was teaching in Shilmel Zagvar. At that time I have participated in beauty pageant in Manchuria and won the title of Miss Joy. After that Shilmel Zagvar approached me to participate in Miss Mongolia. I have never thought I could win a title. Life is full of surprises.

-Thank you and wishing you success.

Photo credits: A.Ariunbold

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