An Interview with performer

Ulzii Mergen

Ulzii discovered her contortion abilities at the age of 4 and entered Mongolia’s National Circus School when she was 7 where she developed her contortion skills. At the age of 9, Ulzii was chosen to join the cast of the renowned Cirque du Soleil, where she performed in many Cirque du Soleil productions such as Alegria, Amaluna and Totem. After an exciting decade performing all around the world with Cirque Du Soleil in over 40 countries, Ulzii moved on to create her individual style and began working with other productions companies across the entertainment industry. No matter which new project Ulzii embarks on she always carefully crafts her creation expressing her unique style of performing.

How did you first hear about Teatro Zinzanni?

The first time was 2016 when I started dating Viktor, my husband – at the time, boyfriend. He just left Cirque du Soleil, and he was performing in Seattle with Zinzanni, and I came to visit him. And the funny thing is, I first met with Norm, and I was like, “I would love to work here one day!” And here I am this year, after eight years!

In the show, you played Meow Meow the cat, and you’ve also played a bunny in a past show. What animal would you consider your “spirit animal”?

I truly believe I, myself, am more bunny. I love being Bunny. And I’m a more “bunny” type of person: cute and happy, bubbly, naughty, love sex…[LAUGHS] So I’m more of, like, a bunny person, yeah.

If you could have any animal as a pet, what would it be?

A dog.  I did have a dog as a child, but I’ve been moving, touring, and I kind of gave up on having pets. But I would love to have one day, yes.

What is your favorite pre-show snack?

A Choco Pie. It’s a little…it’s Korean, actually. It’s a little tiny…it’s Asian. It’s a two chocolate cookies kind of thing. In the middle, there’s a marshmallow. It’s really soft; it’s tiny. It’s very small; it’s called a Choco Pie, yeah. But I love M&Ms – all of us have M&Ms.  I’m a chocolate person, yes. Definitely. Yes.

How long have you been performing as a contortionist?

Well, I started taking it seriously when I was seven. I started performing when I was eleven. So now I’m thirty-one…twenty years! I didn’t even realize that it was already twenty years. I feel old…I mean, I’m kind of the older generation of contortion. I should be giving up pretty soon, yeah.

What’s your favorite thing about contortion?

Ah! Contortion is…my favorite thing is – I love it when I see the audience reaction; it’s one of the favorite things I see. Some people get surprised, some people get scared, some people get wowed, some people get fascinated, some people get inspired to get more flexible. It’s just so impressive to see how they receive it into their mind and show it. It’s very funny – well, I like to see. It’s quite funny for me. But other than that, it’s…for me, it’s a very good stretch. I think it’s healthy for the body to stretch a bit. And as a contortionist, I love it because it feels good! Like, my body is meant to do it, so I feel like sometimes when I don’t do it, I miss it. So it’s something that I have to do to my body – full stretch. I just have a good feeling about it, I guess. Crack my body. [LAUGHS] Especially once you’re done, you get so much energy. It gives you so much energy.

You’re a mom of two adorable kids. What’s your favorite activity to do with them on your days off or before shows?

We love to do…I like to do literally everything with my kids. We have to go outside once a day; it’s like a routine. And I like to cook with them. They like making dumplings – mostly play with the dough. Actually, the big one really cooks well, actually. Seven years old, already making eggs. So I make sure they are involved in households: cleaning, they push the button for the laundry. I love them to be part of the house. Like, not only “kid” kid, you know? They have responsibility. Like, for me, if Leo helps me with ten things, he marks it and he gets five dollars. So he knows…so we have this all set up for our family so the kids are willing to do things and help out. So I like to involve them. We do everything together: we travel together, we eat together, we sleep together, we do everything together. Yeah, I love my family very much. I’m gonna see my husband [Viktor Kee] in six days! 

I’m sure you miss him.

A lot. It’s been a distance relationship since I got here, September. But we’ve seen each other many times. But we used to be in a distance relationship when we didn’t have kids, but with kids it’s very different. It’s very difficult for the kids.

Yeah, not seeing their dad as much [must be hard]. He’s been performing in Florida, right?

Yeah, he’s on the Icon of the Seas, the world’s biggest ship. It’s really impressive. And the kids want to go there already, everyday they ask me. They’re excited.

Is that where you are going next?

Yeah, I’m gonna be a ship mom, a ship wife who literally doesn’t do anything! [LAUGHS] No cooking, no cleaning, nothing – just vacation for three months! [EXCITED SQUEALS] And kids in the kid’s club. I [won’t] even see my kids – but I love them! [LAUGHS] I’m gonna sleep with them; the rest is gone for just a few months, or a few weeks.

Describe Teatro Zinzanni in 5 words or less.

Fun, intimate, and – for me as a mom – me time!!

BOX OFFICE HOURS

Open Tuesday - Sunday  (Phone Only)

1 - 7PM

Closed on Mondays

RESERVATIONS

(312) 488-0900

chicago-info@zinzanni.com

32 W. Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601

Get all the circus updates!

Follow us!

RESERVATIONS

(312) 488-0900

chicago-info@zinzanni.com

32 W. Randolph St. Chicago, IL 60601

BOX OFFICE HOURS

Open Tuesday - Sunday  (Phone Only)

1 - 7PM

Closed on Mondays

Join the Celebrations Club!

 Follow us!

BOX OFFICE HOURS

Open Tuesday - Sunday  (Phone Only)

1 - 7PM

Closed on Mondays

RESERVATIONS

(312) 488-0900

chicago-info@zinzanni.com

32 W. Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601

Join the Celebrations Club!

 Follow us!