Sunday, June 22, 2014

Dunnellon sisters on 'America's Got Talent' Sunday night

Erdenesuvd Ganbaatar says her first instinct as a child was to entertain. She could move her body in ways that nobody else could.

As a 6-year-old living in Mongolia, her first audience was her family. After dinner they would gather around the TV, and she would dance.

“Every time I did the weird positions, my parents would always clap,” she said, laughing.

Her younger sister, Buyonkhishig, started at age 6, and she performed in Japan at age 12. Their father was amazed.

“He thought, ‘My kids could be in the entertaining business,’ ” Erdenesuvd recalled.

These two onetime Mongolian children are now 32 and 26 and living in Dunnellon. Tonight, they will appear as a sister duo on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” for a chance to perform at the famed Radio City Music Hall and to win a $1 million prize.

Erdenesuvd said she started out when her father had been concerned about her back because she was not walking straight. It turned out she was just the most flexible girl in her rhythmic gymnastics class, she now says.

At 10, she was taken to the circus to train and learn serious contortionist moves.

When she was 12, she performed in Moscow at her first contortionist performance.

“I loved it in the beginning,” she said.

Brought to the United States in 2002 after being contacted by an agent, the two sisters were hired by Universoul Circus to perform with the South African Contortionist Lunga.

“It was our first time performing together,” Buyonkhishig said.

They toured the United States for three years before settling in Florida to work together for Cirque Dreams.

After watching singer Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. go from humming tunes while washing cars to winning “America’s Got Talent” in 2011, the duo thought, “we could do that, too,” Buyonkhishig said. “We decided why not be a part of it? It’s really fun to watch.”

They auditioned in Tampa for the upcoming season of the show.

Their performances range from five to 10 minutes on stage, with a lot of conditioning beforehand. They jump rope. They do yoga and pilates. They stretch.

“Then we give ourselves a high five together and go on stage,” Erdenesuvd said.

Erdenesuvd will do hand-stands on her sister’s hip while she balances. She will carry her sister on her neck as she contorts. They talk to each other with their eyes, Erdenesuvd said.

“We learn not to drop each other. We have to trust,” Erdenesuvd said.

Buyonkhishig said the two have learned to support and appreciate each other — and to appreciate and support family.

For several years starting in 2002, the duo would visit their home in Mongolia for Christmas. However, due to paperwork and documentation issues, the two haven’t been able to visit since 2005.

“We have been waiting,” Erdenesuvd said. “My sister got her green card, and I am going to be a citizen soon.”

They will be visiting Mongolia in August — going home to their mother and 93-year-old grandmother. Their father has since died.

But, for now they are preparing for their next performance in Miami on July 18 and enjoying everything North Central Florida has to offer.

Today they will be inviting their friends over to watch them on “America’s Got Talent.”

The sisters hope to inspire youngsters through their performance.

“Be active with your first instinct,” Erdenesuvd said is what she hopes they impart to young people.

It was her first instinct to perform by dancing around the TV in her home in Mongolia, and now she will be seen on TV performing with her sister in America.

“I love working with her. That’s what I love most,” Erdenesuvd said. “I get to love my sister more than ever.”

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