International ballet stars spin into town for dance festival

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International ballet stars spin into town for dance festival

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Olesia Novikova (left) and Leonid Sarafanov. Provided by the organizer

The emotive art of dance will be prancing its way into the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in central Seoul next week, when top ballet performers from the world’s major ballet companies show off their steps. The World Dance Center has invited 14 premier dancers to the 2008 World Ballet Star Festival in Seoul.

The festival will offer highlights from classical masterpieces as well as contemporary ballet selections. Performances are mostly to be pas de deux, a French term that translates as “a dance for two.”

French dancer Manuel Legris and young ballerina Dorothee Gilbert are to perform “Manon,” originially a 1884 five-act opera by Jules Massenet. Legris and Gilbert are members of the Paris Opera Ballet. Legris, 44, will be familiar to some Koreans for his previous performance with Kang Su-jin, a Korean ballerina at the Stuttgart Ballet. Legris and Kang staged “Lady of the Camellias” and “Onegin” during the Korean National Ballet’s New Year Gala in Seoul in 2006.

From St. Petersburg’s Kirov Ballet, Leonid Sarafanov and Olesia Novikova, a 2002 prize winner at the International Ballet Competition, will stage the exotic, masculine “Le Corsair.” The classic is based on “The Pirates,” an epic poem by Lord Byron.

The more familiar “Swan Lake,” “Don Quixote” and “Esmeralda” will also be staged. Other visiting artists include Roberta Marquez and Daniil Simkin (Vienna State Opera Ballet), Dmitry Belogolovtsev and Anna Antonicheva (Bolshoi Ballet), Lucia Lacarra and Cyril Pierre (Munich National Ballet), Marta Romagna (La Scala Ballet), Inaki Urlezaga (Dutch National Ballet), Ha Eun-ji and Jaakko Eerola (Finnish National Ballet).

By Lee Eun-joo angie@joongang.co.kr



*The festival takes place at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in central Seoul at 7:30 p.m. June 5 and at 5 p.m. June 6. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 200,000 won. For more information, call (02) 581-2964 or visit www.wdcseoul.com.
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