My guest today is Mongolian contortionist and contortion instructor Serchmaa Byamba. As a young girl, Serchmaa was inspired by a Contortion act she watched on Mongolian National TV.

She began her performance career as a state sponsored artist in 1989 when Mongolia was still a communist country. After the Monogolian Revolution of 1990, she was free to work with whatever company she wanted. She chose to work with a traditionally ethnic Mongolian folk art troupe following her belief that contortion is not just a circus act, but an ancient cultural artform. She was and still is, the first Asian ever to be invited to participate in European Youth Circus Festival where she won the “Golden Elephant” award and was named the golden girl of Contortion.

IG: @ts_serchmaa

Shannon McKenna is an internationally recognized circus performer and coach. For the past decade, she has been a freelance artist: giving workshops and classes across 7 countries and working on and backstage for both traditional and contemporary circus shows in the US, Portugal, Germany, and Australia. She holds a BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with a concentration on post-modern physical theater (how’s that for a mouthful?). She founded The Artist Athlete in 2018 as a means to produce educational materials for aerial artists and a podcast in which she interviews experts in the circus industry about their careers. If you’re reading this, you’re probably listening to it. Thank you!

She currently lives in Atlanta, GA USA, but gravitates towards whichever circus community is the warmest.

Find her online:

Facebook: The Artist Athlete

Instagram: @the_artist_athlete

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