Tour Completed, Universal Ballet Lands Back Home

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Tour Completed, Universal Ballet Lands Back Home

The last two months have been sweet for Julia H. Moon, the general director of the Universal Ballet. Moon just returned home after a successful tour of the United states. During that trip, she led the Universal Ballet and staged "Shim Chung" and "La Bayadere" at prestigious performing halls in the United States, such as Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and the Music Center in Los Angeles. Those performances drew about 40,000 people and many ovations.

It was not just the audiences who liked the performances. Local press, including The New York Times, gave good reviews to the Universal Ballet's production of "Shim Chung," a Korean fairy tale about a daughter's devotion to her blind father. Jennifer Dunning of The New York Times wrote, "The last act of the work is filled with vivid and lyrical dancing and heart-warming storytelling."

Lewis Segal, theater critic for the Los Angeles Times, said, "Are silken Korean court robes and stately ceremonial dances compatible with satin toe shoes and intricate pointe work? Adrianne Dellas, the choreographer, makes you believe they are."

Such successful performances of the Universal Ballet were possible due mainly to two factors. One is the improved public perception of the company in recent years. Allen Robertson, also of The New York Times, wrote that the Universal Ballet is "generally regarded as the top Asian ballet company."

The other reason for their success is that the company has teamed up with the promoter Paul Szilard. The Universal Ballet first approached Szilard about seven years ago, but he did not have anything good to say about the company then. Moon said, "The Lincoln Center turned down our request to play there three years ago because we were not so well known at that time; it is a sad memory." However, after watching the company's performance in 1998, Szilard proposed a tour in Europe.

Based on. Szilard's advice, the Universal Ballet toured six European countries last year and also performed in Montreal early this year. The Montreal performance was especially memorable for the company because it was the first Korean ballet performance to earn a profit from touring abroad.

Audiences in Korea can watch the Universal Ballet's "Shim Chung" from Sept. 6 to Sept. 9 at the Opera House of the Seoul Arts Center. Moon and three other ballerinas, Kim Seh-yun, Park Sun-hee and Jun En-sun, will take turns playing the heroine, Shim Chung.

For more information about the performance, call 02-204-1041.

by Ki Sun-min

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