Paris Opera Ballet admits Korean ballerina
By Rachel Lee
For the first time, a young female Korean ballerina has become an official member of the corps de ballet at one of the world’s most prestigious companies based in Paris.
Park Se-eun, winner of the 2007 Prix de Lausanne ballet competition in Switzerland, passed an audition at the Paris Opera Ballet held last week. Park joined the ballet company as an apprentice in July 2011.
The troupe is considered to be one of the world’s top three ballet companies along with London’s Royal Ballet and New York’s American Ballet Theatre (ABT). It has an extensive repertoire, ranging from the major romantic and classical ballets to new works by contemporary choreographers.
The 22-year-old, is the second Korean to join the Paris Opera Ballet after danseur Kim Yong-gul joined in 2002. The French word “danseur” means male ballet dancer.
Kim, who is now a professor at Korea National University of Arts, said he told her of his experiences at the Paris-based company to help her choose between joining it or The Dutch National Ballet who also invited her to join.
“It was entirely Park’s wish and decision to join the corps de ballet at the Paris Opera Ballet,” Kim said on Wednesday.
“She has a good physique with long arms and legs,” said the former member of the company. “But most importantly, she is a really tenacious dancer, she never gives up,” he added.
Born in 1989, Park began dancing at the age of 10 and entered a program for young dancers at Korea National University of Arts. Her dancing is marked by her apparently effortless technique and gift for natural expression.
The ballerina is also known as the “Queen of ballet competitions” after she collected major awards such as the Jackson International Ballet Competition in the United States in 2006 and the Varna International Ballet Competition in Bulgaria last year.
She previously danced at American Ballet Theatre's Studio Company and has worked closely with the Korea National Ballet.
“She told me that she is the only one among 130 to be chosen from the competitive selection process,” said the professor.
“But I think the real competition begins now with some 180 dancers working at the world’s finest ballet company who were also accepted through the same process.”