South Korea to stage first ballet festival, 'Swan Lake' featured

Posted Jun 5, 2011 by Andrew Moran
The South Korean government is putting on the nation's very first ballet festival. Starting June 12, Korea will feature four classic and neoteric ballets, including "Swan Lake" and "Empress Myeongseong."
Swan Lake Awaits
Swan Lake Awaits
During a press conference Wednesday, ballet festival head organizer, Kim Hae-Shik, explained that the Republic of Korea has seen a rise of interest in the world of ballet. With the success of the motion picture “Black Swan” and the sell-out of the Korea National Ballet’s “Giselle,” ballet is flourishing in the country.
It was announced that the South Korean government, along with state-run Korea National Ballet, the private Universal Ballet Company, the private Seoul Ballet Theatre and the Gwangju City Ballet, will feature a ballet festival, according to the Arts Journal.
“Many Korea-born ballet dancers have been sweeping the awards at a slew of prestigious overseas competitions in recent years," said Hae-shik, reports Korea JoonAng Daily. "Also, we have seen the box office success of the Hollywood film ‘Black Swan’ and the unprecedented ticket sell-out of ‘Giselle,’ staged by the Korea National Ballet in February. I think the upcoming ballet festival will help further boost the momentum."
The ballet festival, starting June 12, will take place at two venues; the Seoul Arts Center’s the Opera House and the Jayu Theater.
Legendary performer Yuri Grigorovich is the head choreographer.
The program will begin with Korea National Ballet’s “Swan Lake,” followed by Seoul Ballet Theatre’s modern production of “Life Is.” The Gwangju City Ballet will tell the tragic story of “Empress Myeongseong” and the Universal Ballet Company will stage “Giselle.”
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism has subsidized the event worth 400 million won ($370,000). The four ballet companies will receive the profits from the ballet ticket sales, noted one organizing committee.
Korea’s ballet festival will run until June 28 and the ticket prices will range from 20,000 won ($18.57) to 80,000 won ($74.27). If patrons purchase ticket packages there will be a 30 percent discount.
Festival attendees will also have the opportunity to take part in “conversations with audiences” where they can speak with dancers from the participating companies.