ABT principal: happy to be back home
By Rachel Lee
Ballerina Seo Hee still feels bewildered at her recent unexpected promotion to principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre (ABT), one of the world’s leading companies.
“I am happy to be back and perform in my home country,” said the dancer during an interview with The Korea Times on Tuesday. “I would like to dedicate this performance to my father who was too busy to come see me in New York.”
She was attending the American Ballet Theatre welcoming party hosted by Hwang Hae-jin, professor at Ewha Womans University. Some 80 colleagues from the company also attended the event, held at the Grand Hilton Hotel in Seoul, Tuesday.
The troupe will perform one of their signature works, “Giselle,” at Seoul Arts Center from today through July 22. Seo will alternate with other principals including Julia Kent and Paloma Herrera in the role of Giselle.
“’Giselle’ is such a famous production. I would say the highlight of the performance is the beautiful but quiet scene in the second act,” Seo said.
Seo was born in Seoul, and began her ballet training in her hometown at the Sun-hwa Arts Middle School. She was awarded a three-year full scholarship to continue her training at the Universal Ballet Academy in Washington, D.C. In 2003, Seo won a scholarship to train at the John Cranko Ballet Academy in Stuttgart. She was the recipient of the 2003 Prix de Lausanne Award and the 2003 Grand Prix at the Youth American Grand Prix in New York.
Seo joined the ABT Studio Company, which is an ensemble of dancers with outstanding potential, in 2004. She then joined the main company as an apprentice in May 2005, becoming a member of the corps de ballet in March 2006. She was promoted to Soloist in August 2010.
“The company is like my second home. I really love and enjoy working at the company,” she added.
The 26-year-old will also teach at Universal Ballet’s summer academy for young professional dancers.