Opera ballet

Park Sae-eun of the Paris Opera Ballet plans to become a big “star” in France

SEOUL, July 20 (Yonhap) — Park Sae-eun already rose to the top rank of dancers with the Paris Opera Ballet (POB) when she was promoted to prima ballerina last month.

But the 31-year-old South Korean is aiming higher: she wants to be the brightest star on the French ballet scene.

“I think I’ve reached the highest position on my resume,” she said at a press conference in Seoul on Monday. “I want to focus on the things that I can do and that I must do, to become the best prima ballerina among the other prima ballerinas in France.”

She is the first Asian to become a star in the troupe’s 350-year history. Currently, there are 16 dancers, including Park at the POB.

She said she has always been in good spirits since the promotion as she has to get to grips with many of the privileges given to a prima ballerina at POB. She now has her own dressing room and an assistant and has received loads of congratulatory messages from friends.

“I’m still a little excited,” she said. “I think I’ll realize that fact when I play ‘Defile’ in September.”

Before starting a new season in September, the POB will organize a gala concert, and all of the 200 members of the company, from the students of the academy to the dancers of the star, will take the stage in “Defile”, c ie a parade in English.

She said she would be introduced to the French public as a new star at this year’s gala concert.

It only took 10 years for Park to earn the No. 1 spot at the POB.

Since joining the POB in 2011, Park has received a lot of attention for her unusually quick promotion. She landed the position of soloist two years later and was promoted to the current rank of “first dancer”, the second highest rank in Parisian ballet, in 2016.

In 2018, she won the prize for best dancer at the Benois de la Danse, one of the most coveted prizes in the world of ballet. She is the fourth Korean to win a Benois de la Danse award after Kang Sue-jin (1999), Kim Joo-won (2006) and Kim Ki-min (2016).

But Park said she needed more to become POB’s brightest star, where few Asian dancers have made their presence felt for centuries.

“I have so much to do because there are a lot of directories that I haven’t tried yet,” she said. “The artistic director pointed out my strengths and my weaknesses. I want to try harder to develop my good points.”