By Emily Martin
Meet the Stars – NEM Mann
Mann is a circus artist in the Chills troupe. At only 17 he’s already a talented circus artist. He does acrobatics, handstands and he’s usually the one flying through the air because he’s slightly smaller than the others in his troupe.
Find out more about the man behind the cheeky grin…
What’s your favourite trick to perform?
I really like them all… I really like it when I’m thrown into the air and I flip and land on the other person’s shoulders. It was really hard to learn that trick – it took me maybe 2 weeks to learn.
How do you prepare before doing a trick like that?
I don’t really feel anything. I just concentrate on what I’m about to do and just do it. When the people are cheering and are watching me, I feel motivated and it encourages me to do more and get the tricks right!
When did you start at Phare?
I have been doing circus since I was about 7 or 8 years old. I started out just going to the school to play because my brother was a circus student there. I just went with him to try a little bit, like juggling. After that I just continued with the circus because I liked it!
What did you like about it?
I don’t know why but I’ve always liked it! It sort of took a hold on me and I just didn’t want to leave.
Can you tell me a bit about your family life?
I come from Battambang and I have 11 siblings, 7 of them are in the circus. One is in Sokha, others are studying in Battambang and my oldest brother is training in Canada at the National Circus School of Montreal, many of their artists end up working for Cirque du Soleil .The youngest is 7 years old and the oldest is 35 – I’m 17.
Why are so many of your family in the circus?
We are the same because we live so close to the school. It was easy to train and free education!
How did your parents support 11 children?
My mother was a seller and sold things in Phnom Penh and my father was a moto-driver. They moved to the capitol because they could earn more money there. After my older siblings started going to the circus and performing they could earn some more money so my parents moved back from Phnom Penh to Battambang to look after their children. While my parents lived in Phnom Penh I lived with my siblings and Grandmother and Grandfather.
What is your dream for the future?
I want to be an artist and go around the world. I would like to study where my brother is in Canada and get even better and perform there.
If you were an animal what would you be – and why?
I want to be a bird – one that can fly further than all the other birds. I want to see, I want to know everything!
Find out about the current Phare show Mann is performing in: “Chills”
Read about Sothea NEM, one of Mann’s older brothers performing at Phare.