• Sigrid Ellis

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    Sigrid Ellis is co-editor of the Hugo-nominated Queers Dig Time Lords and Chicks Dig Comics anthologies. She edits the best-selling Pretty Deadly from Image Comics. She is the flash-fiction editor of Queers Destroy Science Fiction, from Lightspeed Press. She edited the Hugo-nominated Apex Magazine for 2014. She lives with her partner, their two homeschooled children, her partner’s boyfriend, and a host of vertebrate and invertebrate pets in Saint Paul, MN.
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Circus Manduhai; on the Global Frequency

So this morning J tells me that there’s a circus performance at our local library. Woo-hoo!

I should explain.

Circus Manduhai is the small family circus of Chimgae Haltarhuu. She’s one of the coaches at Circus Juventas, one our whole family likes and respects. Circus Manduhai performs around the Upper Midwest at all sorts of local shows and venues. Starting last year, though, Chimgae and Circus Manduhai started Mission Manduhai, to “use free medical and dental treatment, circus performance, and music to attract local country folk to raise awareness of domestic abuse in Mongolia.” Chimgae and her family travel back to Mongolia and try to teach women to recognize and report domestic abuse. (Here’s a local interview with Chimgae talking about her history with domestic violence, and Mission Manduhai.)

Circus Manduhai was performing at our local library this morning. We could not resist, and all piled into the car to go see them. The show was a delight. Foot juggling, juggling, contortion, hand-balance, rolla bolla, block juggling, and the grand finale — hula hoop! It was a great deal of fun. Chimgae — who, among other things, teaches the Toddler and Kinder classes at Circus Juventas — solicited young volunteers from the audience for almost every act.

We snorted when K volunteered, and Chimgae selected her to stand on another troupe member’s shoulders. It was just about the very definition of “picking a ringer,” a term we explained to the children in the car. After all, Chimgae is K’s Contortion I coach this term, and knows PERFECTLY WELL that K can stand on someone else’s shoulders without falling off. Chimgae also picked M, to try Rolla Bolla, which he did about as well as you would expect — which is to say, he had a great deal of fun being very bad at a very difficult task.

It was fun to see Chimgae perform. She was panting a bit at the end, after the hula grand finale. She told J after a different performance that she’s not as young as she used to be, and the act has gotten somewhat harder! I am unsurprised by this.

If you go look at the links for Circus Manduhai, see if you can find your way to giving them a few bucks. (Yes, you will have to write a check and use a stamp, I know.) But they travel rural Mongolia giving away dental and health care, while trying to change the world one person at a time. Changing the world one person at a time is how the world changes. It’s what we’ve got. And these people try to do it with juggling and hula hoops. How cool is that?


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