Amraa (Odgerel Amarjargal) was born in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia in 1979. Her mother Javzandulam is a natural dancer and at a young age was one of two students selected in Mongolia to study in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Her mother, however, wouldn't allow her to go; disappointed, Javzandulam hoped that if one of her daughters showed talent, she would have the opportunity that she missed. Her second daughter Amraa is the fulfillment of her dream.
Passionate about the arts, Mongolia's former President Tsendenbal's Russian wife Filatova established the Mongolian College of Dance and Music in Ulaanbaatar. Based on the strict Russian system, it focuses on ballet and Mongolian traditional dance. Amraa spent five years of long, hard and often brutal training there, developing into a beautifully elegant ballet dancer and exceptional Mongolian traditional dancer. Master Teacher Nina Osipyan, former principal dancer with the Moscow State Theatre, said simply of Amraa: 'she has something that the other girls don't have.' After long days studying and training, students danced in Mongolia's three Cultural Palaces which produced many classic works. 12 or 15 hour days were not uncommon.
After graduation Amraa was invited to join a Mongolian dance company and danced in Korea and Japan showcasing Mongolian culture. The life of a dancer is short and those who can make a good living from it in Mongolia are rare. After breaking both her ankles at different times doing ballet leaps and contracting glandular fever, Amraa decided to pursue a different career, becoming a Training Manager for a large English Language teaching business in Ulaanbaatar.
Through a mutual friend Amraa met Tim Hannaford, an Australian of Mongolian descent. A former member of iconic Australian folk-rock band Redgum, in 2007 Amraa and Tim were married, and Amraa moved to Australia in 2008. The following month her first daughter Khulan was born, and in 2009 her second daughter Yesu was born.
Amraa still had a great love of dance and Mongolian culture and began to rebuild her dancing career, dancing at the Tsaagan Sar (Mongolian New Year) festivities in South Melbourne and various fund raising events.
John Campbell - a former BBC film editor and producer of This Day Tonight on ABC TV - compiled a DVD of Amraa performing the Uran Gar or flexible hand dance. This DVD was sent to Multi Cultural Arts Victoria and soon afterwards Amraa was asked to dance at the Melbourne Recital Centre as part of the Under an Eastern Moon program in August 2011. In November she was invited by the Mongolian Ambassador to Australia to perform at the Old Parliament House in Canberra as part of a showcase event celebrating the anniversary of the Great Mongolian State.
Amraa is currently joining the classes of Nina Osipyan, now a Master teacher in Australia and the Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet in New York. Amraa and Nina have added the Dying Swan dance from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake to Amraa's unique repertoire.
Amraa has recently teamed up with Sydney-based Mongolian Horse Head Fiddle (Morin Khuur) player and throat singer Bukhchuluun Ganburged. Both are graduates of the Mongolian College of Dance and Music and have a strong knowledge base of Mongolian traditional songs and dances. They have performed together on numerous occasions, most recently at gala fundraising event for the Christina Noble Foundation at the Sofitel Melbourne Ballroom which was attended by the Mongolian and Vietnamese Ambassadors.
Amraa and Bukhu together provide a fascinating 45 minute set of Mongolian music and dance, combining their talents in the rhythmic Morin Khuur dances and showcasing their extraordinary individual skills. This is a unique act for Australia and a remarkably powerful and strikingly different option for corporate and other functions.
Amraa travels from Victoria Australia
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