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Kim Ki-min becomes first Korean ballerino to win top award

Kim Ki-min has become the first Korean ballerino to win the world’s most prestigious ballet award, organizers said Wednesday.

The organizing committee of Benois de la Danse 2016 declared him the best dancer on Tuesday, local time, for his role as Solor in the Paris Opera Ballet’s “La Bayadere de Rudolf Noureev” staged in late 2015.

Ballerino Kim Ki-min (Mariinsky Theater)
Ballerino Kim Ki-min (Mariinsky Theater)

The 24-year-old is currently the principal dancer with Russia’s Mariinsky Ballet.

Previously, two other Korean ballerinos -- Kim Hyun-woong and Lee Dong-hoon -- were nominated for the award but came up empty-handed.

Kang Sue-jin became the first Korean ballerina to capture the honor in 1999, and Kim Joo-won followed in her footsteps in 2006.

Benois de la Danse was founded in 1992 by the International Dance Association in Moscow in honor of the distinguished French choreographer Jean-Georges Noverre who lived from 1727-1810.

Ballerino Kim Ki-min performs in “La Bayadere” (Mariinsky Theater)
Ballerino Kim Ki-min performs in “La Bayadere” (Mariinsky Theater)

Each year, the jury evaluates performances by the top ballet organizations across the world and selects winning choreographers, ballerinas, dancers and scenographers.

Kim became the first Asian ballerino to join Mariinsky, one of the world’s top ballet companies, in 2011. (Yonhap)
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