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Don Quixote: ballet to make you laugh

Presented by Universal Ballet, the nation’s oldest private ballet company, the humorous ballet “Don Quixote,” opens Friday at the Opera Theater in Seoul Arts Center in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul.

Based on Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes’s novel of the same title, its ballet version premiered in the 1750s. Since then, it has been the world’s most-loved comical ballet.

While the original novel revolves around the adventures of the foolhardy Spanish knight Don Quixote and his faithful squire Sancho, the ballet focuses on the jolly romance between the barber Basil and Kitri, the daughter of the local bar owner.

Universal Ballet chose the most popular version of “Don Quixote” which features choreography by Russian choreographer Marius Petipa, music by Austrian composer Ludwig Minkus and premiered in 1896 at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. In Korea, the version was premiered by Universal Ballet in 1997. 
A scene from “Don Quixote” by Universal Ballet (Universal Ballet)
A scene from “Don Quixote” by Universal Ballet (Universal Ballet)

The third act ― Basil and Kitri’s wedding ― is the highlight of the performance. Led by their highly skilled pas de deux, the scene features brilliant and flashy choreography spiced up with beautiful Spanish traditional costumes and stage settings.

Passionate Spanish dances like the toreador dance, flamenco or the gypsy dance are spread out throughout the scenes to dazzle the audience.

Six different couples will perform the roles of Basil and Kitri for this run which will be staged six times. Among them, is Kim Seh-yun (Kitri), who is currently the first soloist of the Dutch National Ballet, and Ohm Jae-young (Basil), Universal Ballet’s principal dancer. The two will take the stage Monday.

Another anticipated couple is the youngest, composed of Han Seo-hye (Kitri) and Lee Dong-tak (Basil). Han shot to fame last year after she appeared on KBS2’s popular TV show “One night and Two days.” This pair appears Sunday evening.

“Don Quixote” runs through March 28 at Seoul Arts Center’s Opera Theater in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. Tickets range from 10,000 won to 100,000 won. For tickets, call (02) 580-1300 or visit

By Park Min-young  (