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Serchmaa Byamba

           Ever since she watched Contortion act on Mongolian national TV, she wanted to be the best Contortionist and started her training at the Mongolian National Circus at the age of eight. Almost every Mongolian young girl’s dream is to be Contortionist as the wrestling is to the boys. It is a hard challenge to be professional Contortionist. One would have to do intense three to four hours of training every day and only a few would make it into becoming the professional Contortionist. Serchmaa enrolled in Mongolian National Circus Contortion training program and became one of those very few fortunate girls to train under the World acclaimed Contortion legend Madam Tsend-Ayush. Madam Tsend-Ayush has a keen eye for a talent and thus she selects her pupils very carefully. She runs a strict and discipline course. Serchmaa later recalls it that she had to learn to cry inside.


          Serchmaa’s career in Contortion started in 1989 when she went to Russia to perform in front of thousand for the very first time. Since then she performed with “Mandukhai” Mongolian Ethnic Ensemble and traveling circus “Urguu” and Mongolian Ethnic dance and music ensemble “Jamukha” in many countries including Russia, Poland, Korea, Japan, China, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Pakistan, France, Mexico and United States of America.

          In October 16th of 1992, while performing in Germany with “Urguu” circus troupe, Serchmaa was invited to participate in European Youth Circus Festival in Weistbaden, Germany. More than 35 countries sent their top circus performers including four other contortion acts from Nederland, Hamburg, Belgium and Hungary. Serchmaa was the only and still is, Asian ever to be invited to participate in European Youth Circus Festival and she won the “Golden Elephant” award and named the golden girl of Contortion.

          In 1998, Serchmaa moved to USA following her husband and later in the year, was invited to be the part of traveling circus “Cirque Ingeniuex”. Serchmaa performed with the circus for a year and decided not to continue on with the circus tours, but to stay close to her family in San Francisco, CA. After settling in,  Serchmaa started performing as an independent contractor and she appeared in many individual shows and performed as a part of circus shows,  including numerous TV talk shows, Tom Cruise movie “Minority Report”, Will Smith’s “Pursuit of Happiness”, San Francisco Black and White Ball, Mongolian Cultural event In New York city, “the Bird House” circus performance, fire ballet “Odyssey” by Crucible, TV show “30 minutes to fame”, fashion clothing line “Dema” and “Cirque de Oy Vey”.

          Serchmaa Byamba started her teaching while training 14 young girls to perform with ballet dancers for the event “The Beginning of Universe” in 1994. Four of the original 14 girls stayed to pursue contortion and Serchmaa continued to train them. Serchmaa took on the offer to teach specifically Mongolian contortion at the San Francisco Circus School “Circus Center”. At first she did not know there would be adults interested in learning Mongolian style contortion and some had a dream to be Contortionist. Because many contortionists in Mongolian still believe that when someone wants to become contortionist, one should start from as early as 6 or 7. Serchmaa recalls that in order to teach adults and train them to become contortionist, she had to make some changes in her training techniques. “Working with adults is more challenging than children, because firstly kids at young age, their bones are still not fully grown and it is easier to adopt to become more flexible, but with adults, who already have full grown bones and body, is harder to bend. I am not saying that all adults are not flexible. I have seen incredibly flexible adults who come to me and after training several courses go on to perform in front of an audience. I even had an older woman come to me and asked if she could learn to do a split and she did it. I was so proud of her and many other students. It totally changed my mind about having to learn something in earlier childhood in order to become professional. And seeing grown up people still yarning to learn more made me proud and it gave me confidence to teach adults. There just had to be different level of programs for different level of flexibility. Being professional does not just stop with you finishing some course or having diploma, but it requires you to continue improving yourself everyday with lots of training.” said Serchmaa.

          Serchmaa teaches private and group contortion classes in San Francisco. Her students include from 5 years old to 35 years. Just like she said there needed to be different level for different people, she offers well designed flexibility, conditioning or contortion classes. For the trained eyes, it is easier to recognize talent and that is why she meets you and takes one on one private classes with you before decide what exactly you need and your body can take.

          Serchmaa Byamba’s students perform in many local and international shows and circus’ and they train hard every day.

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