Opera ballet

Ballerina Kang Ho-hyun, the latest Korean addition to the Paris Opera Ballet

There are now three Korean ballerinas in the Paris Opera Ballet as Kang Ho-hyun recently joined the company after a year-long training period. Founded in 1669, the Paris Opera Ballet is one of the most prestigious ballet companies in the world, along with the Royal Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet and the Mariinsky Ballet. Attracting many talented dancers from all over the world, the famous national ballet company selects only a few exceptional dancers to join its ranks. Here are three Korean ballerinas who are members of the Paris Opera Ballet.

Kang Ho-hyun, ballerina at the Paris Opera Ballet (Photo by Kim Yoon-sik/Czech National Ballet)

Kang Ho-hyun, ballerina at the Paris Opera Ballet (Photo by Kim Yoon-sik/Czech National Ballet)

Kang Ho-hyun

Kang Ho-hyun, 22, recently became a full-time member of the Paris Opera Ballet after a year-long training period. After all the contestants in the final audition this time, Kang is the fourth Korean ballet dancer to join the oldest national ballet company. Kim Yong-geol, who currently teaches at the Korea National University of the Arts, was the first Korean to join the Paris Opera Ballet from which he retired in 2009.

Kang follows Kim Yong-geol, now retired from the company, “lead dancer” Park Sae-eun and young dancer Yun Seo-hoo, who became a full-time member of the company last year.

A graduate of the Korea National University of the Arts, Kang was well received when she took part in “Accompany,” the Jo Ju-hyun Dance Company production shown at the 7th Korea Ballet Festival.

Yun Seo-hoo, ballerina at the Paris Opera Ballet (Courtesy of the artist)

Yun Seo-hoo

Yun is a 19-year-old ballerina who started her professional career at the age of 14. She joined the Paris Opera Ballet in 2015 and spent two years in training before becoming a full-time member of the ballet company in 2017. Yun was the gold medalist in the pre-age division competitive at the Grand Prix Youth America in 2011 and won first class honors at the junior female division of the 2014 Varna International Ballet Competition.

Park Sae-eun, a “first dancer” of the Paris Opera Ballet (Yonhap)

Sae-eun Park

Park is a “first dancer” of the Paris Opera Ballet. In June, Park also won Best Dancer at the Benois de la Danse awards in Moscow, beating out five other competitors from acclaimed ballet companies around the world. Park is acclaimed for her starring role in “Diamonds,” part of legendary choreographer George Balanchine’s “Jewels” trilogy. The 28-year-old ballerina joined the Paris Opera’s Corps de Ballet in 2011 to get the full-time job in June 2012, becoming the second Korean ballet dancer to join the ballet company. Park won gold at the Varna International Ballet Competition in Bulgaria in 2010, first prize at the Prix de Lausanne in 2007, and silver at the United States International Ballet Competition in 2016, a year when there has not had a gold prize winner.

By Shim Woo-hyun ([email protected])