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Overseas Korean dance stars return to home stage

All Headlines 18:49 July 08, 2015

By Shim Sun-ah

SEOUL, July 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korean dancers dancing for famous foreign ballet troupes and dance groups will perform on the same stage in the annual home-coming show this weekend.

The event comes as many Korean dancers eye going abroad and dancing with internationally acclaimed dance troupes around the world. There are approximately 200 Korean dancers pursuing careers overseas, according to the local dance scene.

Launched in 2001 as a biennial event, the Korea World Dance Stars Festival returned as an annual event six years later to provide local dance fans with more chances to see their favorite Korean stars from overseas troupes and to enhance the status of Korean dancers abroad. A total of 70 Korean dancers have since been invited to the home stage.

The 12th edition of the festival is set to run on Friday and Saturday at Arko Arts Center in central Seoul, featuring five Korean dancers working for European and American ballet companies.

The five invitees are Ha Eun-ji, who recently became a permanent member of the Finnish National Ballet in recognition of her ability to perform both classical and contemporary dance; Choe Yu-hui, a soloist of The Royal Ballet in London; Yang Eun-ji of the German Hagen Ballet; Won Jin-young from America's Cedar Lake Ballet; and Orlando Ballet's Won Jin-ho.

Joined by three foreign and five local dancers, they will perform a total of 15 contemporary and classic items, including "Double Evil," "Drift," "Voices" and "Cinderella." Of them, eight are Korean premiers, according to the festival's organizers.

"I'm really glad to be here. It means a lot to perform in Korea as I have Korean blood," Choe said in English during a news conference in Seoul Wednesday. Born in a Korean-Japanese family with North Korean ties, she changed her nationality to South Korean.

"I have performed here back in 2010 and it was very special time for me. Unfortunately, I haven't been back since because my schedule was always tight. This time, because it's summer holiday I was able to come."

Choe will perform "Cinderella" and "Asphodel Meadow" together with her dance partner from The Royal Ballet, Nehemiah Kish.

Yang also said that she is really happy to be back on the home stage and was thankful for the invitation.

Korean ballerino An Jae-yong, who recently received job offers from both the Finnish National Ballet and the Norwegian National Ballet, will join as a local dancer while 11 members from the Kim Yonggeol Dance Theater will perform the group dance.

Other participants include rising college stars Lee Soo-bin, Kim Shin-yong and Jung Eun-ji, who won the Junior Grand Prix at the International Ballet Competition-Varna in 2014, the Best Junior Award at the Youth America Grand Prix this year and the Grand Prix at Sicilia Barocca in 2013, respectively.

Kim Yong-geol, who leads the dance company and formerly danced with the Paris Opera Ballet, will also work as the art director for the festival.


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