International stars are coming home

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International stars are coming home


“They are coming” is the theme of this year’s Korea World Dance Stars Festival, a homecoming for Korean dancers working on the international scene.

Organized by the International Performing Arts Project, this annual festival, which started in 2001, invites Korean dancers abroad so the “dancers themselves get familiar with the Korean audience,” while the audience can “enjoy acclaimed dancers’ performances.”

For the first time, the festival will go on tour to Gangwon and Gyeonggi after a kickoff performance on Thursday in Seoul.

“We have decided to take this year’s festival to two more locations outside Seoul that have hardly any opportunities to appreciate Korean dancers’ high-quality talents,” said the festival organizer. “We want to take this opportunity to move away from the phenomenon of a Seoul-concentrated performing arts culture.”

Six acclaimed dancers currently working with ballet companies in the United States and Europe have been invited to participate in this year’s festival. They are Jun Eun-sun, a soloist for the Royal Swedish Ballet; Lee Sang-eun from Germany’s Dresden Semperoper Ballet; Cho Soo-youn, principal for the Tulsa Ballet in the United States; Chae Ji-young of the Washington Ballet; Kim Hyun-woong, former principal dancer of the Korean National Ballet, who is set to join the Washington Ballet as a principal; and Kim Hyung-min, main dancer for the Germany’s Constanza Macras/Dorky Park Company. Three of the six dancers will be accompanied by partners from their current companies.


Left: Lee Sang-eun of Germany’s Dresden Semperoper Ballet will perform a pas de deux from “Giselle” and a creative work “Vertigo Maze.” Right: The Jo Ju-hyun Dance Company stages a group dance “Interrobang.” Provided by International Performing Arts Project

“People say that when you leave your motherland, you become a patriot. Maybe that’s why I miss Korea so much, the more time I spend in Sweden. This makes me so excited to be invited to perform on a Korean stage,” said Jun of the Royal Swedish Ballet. “This festival means a lot to me because I will be dancing for my friends and family in Korea for the first time in nine years.”

With her partner Dragos Mihalcea, Jun will perform a contemporary piece called “In Light & Shadow” and a pas de deux from “Coppelia,” a sentimental comic ballet with original choreography by Arthur Saint-Leon.

Cho, from the Tulsa Ballet, who is bringing her partner Wang Yi, will perform a pas de deux from “Romeo and Juliet,” with a score by Sergei Prokofiev.

The pair will also perform “Wave of Spring.”

“Wang Yi is also a choreographer, and he created ‘Wave of Spring’ just for this festival,” Cho said.

Lee will dance a pas de deux from “Giselle” with her partner Milan Madar. They will also perform a newer creative work, “Vertigo Maze.”

The festival will also include creative productions from local groups, such as the Jo Ju-hyun Dance Company, all-male group LDP, Kim Sun-hee Ballet Company and Lee Jae-young Dance Company.

“We want the festival to be not only the stage for Korean dancers working abroad, but also an opportunity for dancers in Korea to interact with international dancers who then can encourage and support them as they enter the international scene,” the organizer stated.

* The four-day festival will take place at 8 p.m. on Thursday and June 29 at Theater Yong of the National Museum of Korea in central Seoul; 5 p.m. on June 30 at Inje Cultural Complex, Gangwon; and at 5 p.m. on July 1 at Yeoncheon Sureul Art Hall in Gyeonggi. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 100,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3674-2210 or visit

By Yim Seung-hye []

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