ASA Circus has to use its original purpose

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The 80th anniversary of the establishment of a circus school in Mongolia will be celebrated this year, and the former State Circus building will reach 79 years of age. Talented, hardworking, gifted artists and coaches who carry the mantle of the circus art in Mongolia today are not able to unite and create performances regularly as they don’t have a place to call their own.

The former State Circus has been privatized and is now known as ASA Circus. Sumo champion Asashoryu D.Dagvadorj bought the circus promising to develop the circus art but the building now houses are restraint and pub.

Circus performers who have no place of their own to train regularly in Mongolia prepare for performances only when they receive offers from abroad. A circus company called Angel held a joint performance with a traditional music and dance troupe in Paris from November last year to January this year. The artists reportedly had to use a conference room of Khan Bank to train for their Paris performance. Though the conference room was large, it was not designed as a training or performance facility. Circus performers are no stranger to this issue. Circus artists N.Zolbayar created a training facility for circus artists in his ger district yard.

Before its privatization, circus performances were held at the State Circus every month. Each time, there was a new program, and all students would be sold tickets from three MNT. At first glance, it looked coercion, but the good policy for human development. The feelings and insights gained from a circus performance might become a strong lifelong lesson and inspire young people to reach for their dreams. The importance of arts education lies in this.

There are four professional circus associations operating in Mongolia. They have often requested the government for material and policy support, but nothing's changed. The top talents in this field are being wasted due to a lack of opportunity.

Head of the New Circus Center D.Zorigt said, “The owners and management of world-famous circuses know our artists well and invite us for specific shows and programs. The artists train well here and are admired by the audience there. Just recently, high jumpers broke the record in Monte Carlo. Previously, there were only a few types of acts such as contortion, but our success is progressing. We want our country to be circus-friendly. We requested support for circus performers from the government many times, but there is no answer from them. I guess our government does not have the capital to build a circus, or to build a facility or management for the circus. It’s a pity. Currently, there are active circus artists. But 10 years from, it will be too late to talk about circus artists. If we have our own place, not only Mongolian circus artists, but foreign artists will come to play constantly. At present, only a few managers bring in performances from abroad in Mongolia. There are many problems such as rent for ASA Circus. It’s no longer viable for the animal circus to perform. The circus is a high demand for entertainment for all ages. This kind of art has big advantages.”

Circus art is a special kind of entertainment that can be enjoyed by children and adults. Company of performers who put on diverse entertainment shows that may include clowns, acrobats, trained animals, trapeze acts, musicians, dancers, hoopers, tightrope walkers, jugglers, magicians, unicyclists, as well as other object manipulation and stunt-oriented artists. They show that the human being can force any beast into its power, how much physical resources we have, conquer ourselves and achieve whatever we want to all ages and shows real miracle in front of the audience's eyes. Most people never forget circus performance after seeing it. Art researchers have found that impressions that come from circus performances can be a positive force or guide in an audience's life. And that's why the government of Mongolia has begun implementing policies to “enlighten” its people shortly after gaining independence.

Let's imagine if a State Circus, Mongolian Film Institute, National Academic Drama Theater, National Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet, State Philharmonic Academy and other professional art organizations were not established. The performing arts wouldn’t have existed or gained the prominence it did in Mongolia, and the people would be ignorant of the great stage productions of the worlds. The history of modern Mongolia is not long. We need to take a look back over the past 80 years and plan an out good basic education for the people now. We have to recall the specific attributes that led to us becoming the greatest conquerors of all time.

Today, our society may seem colorful, rich, developed or even look “beautiful”. But behind the scenes, corruption and degradation of morals are noticeable increasing day by day. It is so hard to see many people are being selfish, gossiping, despising their country or nation, and acting like they weren’t born or raised in Mongolia.

Graduating from university does not guarantee that you are an educated person. A university diploma is regarded only as a certificate of payment for tuition. The level of education of a person is reflected in their upbringing, maturity, knowledge, skills, communication, critical thinking and morals.

Many people talk badly about Mongolia’s socialist times, but disorderly public conduct and domestic abuses were not as common as today. People used to respect others and morals were the highest values of life.

Art is not necessarily tangible but it leaves a lasting impression. Westerners are said to be very cultural. Why? At the root is the art and what it stands for in the collective mind. They understand and communicate with others through art. Whether they build houses or buildings, whether they eat or drink beer, they follow the rule of art. Art is considered the highest expression of human intellectuality.

When Mongolia strived to create communism through socialism, and leaders of Mongolia saw the power and influence of art and craft policies and programs with the help of Russians, who were more exposed to European culture. It can be said that the professional arts organizations established at the time were enlightenment tools for Mongolians. Unfortunately, some of them were lost. The Children and Youth Theater, State Circus and Mongolian Film Institute stopped their operation.

    Classical art is strong. But the most accessible to the general public are films and circus art. People of all walks of life can appreciate circus performances -- they hold their breath and forget about their negative feelings. They are inspired by circus artists, who bravely execute feats that others couldn’t even imagine. The State Circus gave out positive energy, promoted understanding and inspired the people.

Mongolian circus artists continue to exhilarate audiences from all over the world. Mongolia’s top talents in the circus become stars in Las Vegas. Some perform in South Africa and play with the Circus of the Sun, which is the most popular circus in the world.

Currently, Mongolia only has building called circus, but no actual circus performances. Instead, bars, banks and restaurants operate in the building that was formerly devoted to promotion of arts. Very occasionally, real circus performances are hosted. Most other times, it’s just a place to get drunk.

When Asashoryu D.Dagvadorj acquired the State Circus in 2006, he promised to develop circus arts to make is big as the Sun Circus. But today, the State Circus has become a commercial establishment rather than a cultural hub it was intended to be.

Enkhnaranjav Tumurbaatar

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