D.Altankhuyag: Mongolia needs professional ballet schoolThe Mongol Messenger
It is not long time since Mongolia started staging a ballet ‘Nutcracker’ as other countries do customarily during the New Year. Auditions ran on September 16 to select young dancers who have an aspiration of being a part of the ballet. We interviewed D.Altankhuyag, State Honored Artist and Head of the Mongolian Ballet Development Foundation, who is working to stage this ballet in modern American version to Mongolian audiences for the fifth year.
-Children wait for enjoying ‘Nutcracker’. How many children will participate in this year’s performance?
-This year marks the fifth anniversary of the Nutcracker staged first in Mongolia. The performance quality has improved in this period. First, more than 280 children came to audition. This year, over 100 children came to the audition, of whom around 70-80 children will be chosen. We pay attention on how ‘Nutcracker’ can influence on bringing classics to Mongolia’s society, making children fond of dancing and on children’s upbringing. Thus, we are willing to involve many children in the performance. A rehearsal of the performance has started from today to give a joy to people during the New Year. The Governor’s Office of the Capital City, the State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Sports, the Mongolian Ballet Development Foundation and other business institutes are collaborating for it.
-Since its first stage of the Nutcracker in Mongolia, a number
of children who are interested in the ballet have reportedly increased. I heard
that you are preparing to perform it in Japan?
-Our artists will perform the ‘Nutcracker’ at New National Theater of Tokyo, Japan on October 27-28. The ballet will be jointly performed by the colleague of Tokyo Komaki Ballet and dancers of the Mongolian State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet. Over 50 children have been already selected for the performance in Tokyo. In Mongolia, it will be traditionally performed in December. It is becoming an important event in Mongolia’s classic art history that Mongolian ballet dancers will perform in Tokyo together with its full stage decoration and dancewear. Over 10 dancers of Mongolia who are now dancing in Tokyo within the framework of cooperation, and of the Academic Theatre will play in the performance. I will dance and choreograph the performance. We see that the Nutcracker as one of the greatest ballets to show our ability and quality of the performance in Asia within our future goal to have own position in classic art in the world.
-The dancing snowflakes on stage during its first performance was appreciated by the audiences. What will be the feature of this year’s performance? Is there any change in composition?
-During the first performance of the Nutcracker, we made our audiences happy by letting it snow on stage. We also experienced launching air balloon. I believe that someday we will have a Theatre with large stage at which great classic performances can be presented. Even this year, we will also make our audiences travel through magical world by letting it snow, launching air balloon and making magic fir tree giant.
-I see a few of boys arrived in the audition. Do they come by their own interest or by requests of their parents?
-Ballet is an art of dancing. My father is State Honored Artist and a folk dancer who devoted his entire life to the art of dancing. I think children have to study arts from their early ages. It can be either painting or music. Boys come here by their own interest. Parents have a pivotal role in developing their skill and talent. Especially, I want to address parents that it is crucial for boys to study arts. Therefore, the Mongolian Ballet Development Foundation decided to educate talented 30 boys aged above 8 who live in poor living conditions under its scholarship. If parents are interested, it is available to bring their children to the audition.
-As a person who is contributing to the ballet development in Mongolia, you founded ‘Mongolian National Ballet’ school. Please tell us your intention to broaden activities of the school in the future.
-It has been five years since the establishment of our ballet school. Skills of children are seen considerably improving in the extent to their competitiveness for dancing in roles such as Clara and her friends. Additionally, we have organized the second Mongolian National Ballet Competition and the first International Ballet Competition of Mongolia this year. Ballet is not so easy.
Currently, adults doing ballet have increased. Ballet positions include yoga, concentration, speed, power and outstretch. I know that how ballet is being taught in England, France and Japan. Adults have much interest in ballet, however there is no program dedicated to them. Therefore, our foundation is studying to create program for adults. It is necessary to establish ballet school in Mongolia. I expect that national ballet school would be founded from next year for the goodness of classic art development in the country. It has much efficiency. The school will be contributive to give proper knowledge to children from their early ages as well as to make people have knowledge of art by providing them opportunities to open themselves and having sense of art.
-How the sector’s ministry and corresponding officials are backing the proposal to establish the national ballet school?
-Regarding the matter, I exchanged views with Minister of Education, Culture, Science and Sports Ts.Tsogzolmaa. Moreover, Head of Cultural and Arts Policy Department B.Sergelen who was a ballet dancer and State Secretary of the Ministry B.Bayarsaikhan are the people who love art. Therefore, I believe that the school will be established soon. Our ballet dancers of the State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet are showing their talent and ability in the world and receiving awards from the international competitions. Mongolia has full potential to compete with other countries with ballet, making its contribution to the world ballet art.