Ballerina says husband’s spirit feeds her successTo many ballet fans, Mun Hun-sook, 43, is best known for dancing the lead role in the ballet “Giselle.” Yet she’s also the chief executive officer of an established dance troupe, as well as chairwoman of the board of the Universal Cultural Foundation, a role she took up two years ago this month.
One of her first acts after she took over the foundation was to renovate the Universal Art Center, formerly known as the Little Angels Art Center.
Ms. Mun remodeled the theater, which first opened 25 years ago, as an upgraded performance hall.
The foundation oversees a ballet troupe, a performance hall and a ballet academy. Currently there are about 170 staff members. For a ballerina who has spent much of her life on stage, running such an organization has not been an easy task.
“My objective was to slim down the organization,” she said. “My other task was to reshuffle the members with people from the younger generation.”
Ms. Mun was born with the family name of Park but changed it because she considers herself to be the daughter-in-law of Mun Seon-myeong, the leader of the Moonies.
When she was 21, Ms. Mun was to marry Mr. Mun’s second son, but he died in a car accident before the planned wedding could take place. A ceremony went ahead with her late fiance’s spirit and she now considers that he is her husband.
“Sometimes people ask me how I can play the role of a heroine in love so well,” she said. “I ask them, ‘Do you know the longing in my heart because I cannot love the man I chose in this life? I wouldn’t have started this life if I didn’t have the courage to live it. I chose this life, and this is my destiny.”
Ms. Mun currently lives with two adopted children, Sin-cheol, her eldest son, who is 14, and a daughter, Sin-wol, 3.
“At first I thought it was insane for a woman past the age of 40 to have such a young child,” she says. “But I really feel that living with a girl is different. I feel like we connect.” Yet she does seem to have some concerns.
“Already she asks why she doesn’t have a father,” she says. “It will take a long time to convince her. But I believe she will accept it in her heart, because she’s just like me.”
by Choi Min-woo