Koreans give ballet a local spin

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Koreans give ballet a local spin

Sifting through Autumn previews, fans of the performing arts rejoice to see news of renowned international ballet companies coming to Korea.
But given the dearth of local names, some may wonder, “Aren’t any Korean companies playing their own repertories?” Well, there is some good news.
The Korea Ballet Association is putting up four Korean ballet performances next Tuesday night in order to introduce recent works by leading Korean choreographers. The four performances are based on works of literature ―three by a well-known Korean writer and one from Spain.
Hwang Kyu-ja, a professor at Hanyang University, and her Yahn Ballet Company will dramatize the short Korean novel “The Houseguest and Mother.” The classic story was written by Ju Yo-seob, and already has been adapted for the stage and screen. It is a romantic and humorous depiction of two adults in love, told from the perspective of a 6-year-old girl.
Kim Hwa-rye, a professor at Kyung Hee University and head of the Ballet Nova company, bases her dance on a Korean essay called “Shoes.” The story is derived from the clicking noise made by the writer’s shoes. The performance is supposed to depict trivial thoughts that the writer had in daily life.
The third number is by Lee Sang-man, director of the Lee Ballet Company, which will perform the traditional love tale of Chunhyang. In the story, Mongryong is a son of a governor who falls in love with Chunhyang, the beautiful daughter of a retired courtesan. A nasty senior official orders Chunhyang to become his courtesan while Mongryong is away, but she refuses and waits for her true love to return.
Baik Young-tae from Gangwon University and Ballet Ryuvov base their dance on poems written by Spanish playwright Federico Garcia Lorca. Titled the “Shadow,” this performance will be a mixture of classical and modern ballet.
As autumn is known as the season for literature, this year ballet will serve as a means to enjoy classic literary works, said the organizer.

by Lee Min-a

The Korea Ballet Festival will be on Oct. 11 at the Little Angels Performing Arts Center in eastern Seoul. Tickets cost from 10,000 won to 20,000 won ($20). Call 1588-7890 for ticketing.
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