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Korean dance world broadens its scope

Jan. 11, 2011 - 17:55 By 김윤미
Major dance and ballet companies are expected to showcase a broad spectrum of dances and ballets in 2011, ranging from Korean classical ballet to French classical romantic ballet to Korean contemporary dance and original Spanish flamenco.

The first to kick-start the local dance scene in January is “The Song of Mermaid,” created and showcased by veteran choreographer Kim Sun-hee 10 years ago.

Kim, professor of the School of Dance at the Korean National University of Arts, will stage the ballet five times from Jan. 21 to Jan. 23 at the Seoul Arts Center’s Towol Theater, to mark the 10th anniversary of the ballet’s premier.

Her disciples are to celebrate the show and they include Kim Hyun-woong, soloist of the Korea National Ballet Company, and Kim Min-jeong, who topped the 7th Seoul International Dance Competition in July.

The 70-minute ballet comes with original orchestral music composed by Russian composer Dmitri Pavlov.

Tickets range from 70,000 won to 20,000 won. For details, call (02) 3216-1185 or visit

The Towol Theater is also the venue for “Black Box,” the first production by Korea National Contemporary Dance Company, launched last August, which will be performed Jan. 29-30. “Black Box” is based on eight representative creative works by Hong Sung-yup, artistic director of the dance company. Tickets cost 10,000 won. For details, call (02) 3472-1420.

In February, the Korea National Ballet Company is to showcase original French romantic ballet “Giselle,” by inviting stage and costume designer Luisa Spinatelli and choreography director Patrice Bart to Seoul. Bart is the Paris Opera Ballet’s first ballet master and choreography director.
A scene from “Giselle.” (Korea National Ballet Company)

The ballet was first staged at the Paris Opra’s Salle Le Peletier in 1841 and has become a representative French romantic ballet work.

The two French artists will greatly help the Korean ballet company reproduce the original 19th-century French scenes and costumes of “Giselle,” said the KNBC’s spokesperson Kim Hye-won. The costumes will come directly from Italy, she said. Italian conductor Marzio Conti will lead the Korean Symphony Orchestra.

“Giselle” will be staged at the Seoul Arts Center’s Opera Theater from Feb. 24-27. Tickets range from 100,000 won to 5,000 won. A group of more than 20 people can get a 30 percent discount and students under 19 will get a 50 percent discount. For tickets, call (02) 580-1300.

In March, the nation’s oldest private ballet company Universal Ballet starts the 2011 season with “Don Quixote,” with much focus on brilliant and flashy choreography.
A group dance scene of the first act of “Don Quixote” (Universal Ballet Company)

The highlight of the 260-year-old Spanish comic ballet will be in the third act, where innkeeper Lorenzo’s daughter Kitri and barber Basilio show virtuosic dance at a wedding scene. Thirty two Fouette turns and continuing jumps during the scene are the favorites of the “Don Quixote” lovers.

“Don Quixote” is to be staged at the Seoul Arts Center’s Opera Theater from March 25 to March 28.

In June, the Universal Ballet is to present “This is Modern 2011,” a collection of three contemporary ballets ―“Petit Mort,” “Six Dances” by Czech choreographer Jiri Kylian and “This is your life” by Korean choreographer Huh Yong-soon. It is the first time that “Six Dances” is staged in Korea. Compared to classical ballets, the show will maximize individual dancers’ different dancing styles and talents.

The ballet company will showcase “This is Modern 2011” from June 9 to June 12 at Universal Arts Center.

The National Ballet of Spain will be in Seoul for the first time in October to stage their original Spanish flamenco.

World-famous classically trained, flamenco dancers such as Joaquin Cortes, Antonio Canales and Eva Yerbabuena earned their fame with the National Ballet of Spain.

The ballet company is to perform at the LG Arts Center on Oct. 6-9. Tickets range from 100,000 won to 40,000 won. For tickets, call (02) 2005-0114.

By Kim Yoon-mi (