Beijing, July 27, 2016:Â Some 800 years ago, Genghis Khan united most of the Mongolian tribes with his then invincible cavalry.
Nowadays, Forever Genghis Khan, an equestrian show in a natural setting, is performed by some 50 horsemen from Mongolia.
The show is staged at the Shenquan ecological tourist site in Togtoh county, about 90 kilometres southwest of Hohhot, the capital of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region.
Amid the neighing of horses, the clanging of swords and axes and the yelling of soldiers, the 50-minute performance, which comprises six acts, tells the story of the rise of Genghis Khan.
The show opens with the childhood friendship between Temujin, later acknowledged as Genghis Khan, and his chief rival Jamukha. The boys play together, and both dream of becoming the ruler of the Mongolian steppe.
When the two boys grow up, they both become the leaders of their tribes. When Temujin’s wife is kidnapped by an enemy, Jamukha helps Temujin.
But the friendship between the two young men starts to break when Temujin is chosen to become the Khan, and battles ensue.
During a key battle, Jamukha is betrayed by his followers, and is captured by Temujin.
Although Temujin offers to renew his friendship with Jamukha, the latter asks for death, saying there is room for only one sun in the sky, and one lord for Mongolia.
“We performed the show in Jeju island in South Korea from 2008 to 2012,” says Uurtsaikh, 39, who is the head of the equestrian team Khaadiin Khaan, which means king of kings.
Together with other Mongolian horsemen, Uurtsaikh and his team performed for Chinese President Xi Jinping, during his state visit to Mongolia in 2014, and received high praise from Xi.
The following July, Uurtsaikh’s team was invited to perform in Hohhot.
Chen Jun, the manager of the Shenquan ecological park, then watched the performance and was also impressed by the team’s equine prowess.
After negotiations, Chen introduced the performance to the park.
“The show promotes a cultural exchange between China and Mongolia,” says Chen. “And we are trying to find more opportunities for the show.”
In order to showcase authentic Mongolian culture, all the props and costumes are from Mongolia.
However, the horses used in the performance are from Inner Mongolia, so the riders had to spend weeks to get familiar with the animals before the show was launched in China.
“The most important thing about the performance is that the man and the horse should be one,” says Uurtsaikh.
Though the performers are between 17 and 27 years old, some of them have more than 10 years experience of horseback acrobatics.
The show is performed twice daily between May to October.
Meanwhile, Chen and Uurtsaikh hope to take the performance to the southern provinces of China.
As for other plans, Uurtsaikh says: “We will put on a new show this September, featuring the historic Battle of the Thirteen Sides between Temujin and Jamukha.”
In that battle, Temujin and Jamukha organise their troops and allies into 13 groups.
Speaking of the crowd response to the show, Uurtsaikh says: “In South Korea, Mongolia and China, the audiences are different, but the response of applause is the same. “And that’s what encourages us the most.”