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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Talented Local Dancer Tselmegtsetseg Tsetsendelger Making a Name For Herself

Posted By on Wed, Mar 3, 2010 at 8:30 AM

Tselmegtsetseg Tsetsendelger dances at the Zeum in San Francisco

To answer your first question, it's "Tal-Meg-Sept-Seg Set-Send-Al-Gur."

To answer your second question, she's a veteran performer of traditional Outer Mongolian dance at San Francisco and East Bay festivals -- an old hand at 17.

And your third question might as well be "Is this the most Google-friendly name of all-time?" You'd think so, and so did we. We made a few searches, found a phone number -- and called someone else.

How embarrassing. We wanted to get a hold of Tselmegtsetseg Tsetsendelger and instead rang up Tsengeltsetseg
Tsetsendelger. What's more, both of them are traditional Outer Mongolian dancers. And both, almost by necessity, go by the the nickname "Tee" (though Tselmegtsetseg spells it "Tee" and Tsengeltsetseg prefers "Tea.").

Are these two mistaken for each other? All the time -- even by their parents. They are, after all, sisters. 

Thanks to Tsengeltsetseg we managed to track down Tselmegtsetseg; to simplify, Tea led us to Tee. The latter is a chipper junior at Alameda High School and vice-president of her high school class. She's danced at the Children's Festival in Golden Gate Park and can be seen every year at the Naadam Festival on Mongolian Independence Day here in the city.

Tee says that, even for Mongolians, her name is a handful. It's the combination of two words, in fact -- Tselmeg means "sky with no clouds" as in "pretty day." And Tsetseg is a flower.

Incidentally, Mongolian names are derived by giving children their father's first name as a last name -- so Tselmegtsetseg and Tsengeltsetseg  Tsetsendelger are the daughters of Tsetsendelger Tserendorj.

Locals will next have an opportunity to see Tselmegtsetseg Tsetsendelger dance in the city for the Naadam Festival. For the life of us, we couldn't find this event's Web site -- but, since it's on Mongolian Independence Day, we've got until July 11 to track it down. Either way, it's a lot harder to find on Google than Tselmegtsetseg Tsetsendelger. 

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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