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Kim Hee-sun becomes first S. Korean to win Helsinki ballet competition

All News 10:38 June 03, 2016

SEOUL, June 3 (Yonhap) -- Kim Hee-sun has become the first South Korean to win the Helsinki International Ballet Competition, the contest's website showed Friday.

The 24-year-old captured the Jane Erkko Grand Prix, which is the top award for women aged 20-25, on Friday, according to the website.

Kim joined the Korean National Ballet last year and has been part of its corps de ballet, or dancers who only perform in groups.

Previously, Hwang Hye-min, a principal with South Korea's Universal Ballet, tied for second place at the same competition in 2001.

The Helsinki contest was founded in 1984 and has been held every four to six years.

Kim, who majored in dance at Korea National University of Arts (KNUA), won third prize at the International Ballet Competition Varna in Bulgaria, one of the world's three most prestigious competitions, in 2014.

The year before that, she won first prize along with fellow KNUA graduate Lee Won-seol in pas de deux, a dance duet, at the International Dance Festival Berlin.

Also at Helsinki, Han Byul became the second prize winner in the senior men (ages 20-25) category. In the junior women's division, Shin So-jung and Shim Yeo-jin won first and third prizes, respectively.

sojungpark@yna.co.kr
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