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Overseas-based Korean dancers put on gala shows

10th Ballet Festival Korea wraps up

Dancers who participated in the gala shows of the 10th Ballet Festival Korea pose for photos before the press event held Thursday at Korea House in Chungmuro, central Seoul. (Yonhap)
Dancers who participated in the gala shows of the 10th Ballet Festival Korea pose for photos before the press event held Thursday at Korea House in Chungmuro, central Seoul. (Yonhap)


Overseas-based Korean dancers wrapped up the 10th Ballet Festival Korea with gala shows over weekends at the Seoul Arts Center in southern Seoul.

A total of 10 prominent overseas Korean dancers gathered for the gala shows. Most of them were initially unable to participate in the shows due to the tight schedules of their ballet troupes.

After the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, however, the seasons were canceled, allowing them to return to Korea and perform onstage.

“I wrote about going onstage in Korea on my social media account, and my colleagues were surprised,” ballerino Han Sung-woo of the American Ballet Theatre based in New York said at a press event held in central Seoul on Thursday prior to the shows.

Han was invited to the festival in 2008 as a “young star” when he was in his early teens. After more than 10 years, he returned to the same stage as an invitee.

“Of course, it is overwhelming to go onstage in Korea after all these years. But still, I wanted to share how better I have become over the time,” Han said. “We are all suffering due to the virus, I imagine an audience happy with my dancing.”

Due to the virus crisis, the dancers could not continue with their usual practice routines in past months. Shows were canceled, and self-quarantine measures limited the practice area to the dancers’ living rooms.

“Bodies don’t lie. Our bodies are like a truth detector,” Han said, adding him and other dancers are working on training their muscles to their usual strength.

Over the weekend, Han went onstage, performing the “Le Corsaire” pas de trois with Lee Seon-woo from Boston Ballet and Lee Yu-rim from Hungary National Ballet, “Don Quixote” pas de deux with Kang Ho-hyun of the Paris Opera Ballet.

Park Sun-mi of the ABT, Lee Sang-min, Lee Su-bin from Boston Ballet, Jeong Ga-yeon from Joffrey Ballet in Chicago, freelance dancer Lee Mi-ri from Amsterdam, Lee Seon-ah from Cie Le Guetteur in Paris also went onstage, presenting well-recognized ballet movements.

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com))
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