Opera ballet

The South Korean becomes the first Asian to reach the top of the Paris Opera Ballet in its 352-year history

“I believe that art – not just dance – transcends nationality and race”

Park Sae-eun became the first Asian to reach the top of the Paris Opera Ballet.

The 31-year-old ballerina has achieved the rank of “star” or “star”, which is the highest rank in the prestigious ballet.

Park’s performance is the first Asian performance of the 352-year-old ballet at this level.

“I believe that art – not just dance – transcends nationality and race,” Park told Agence France-Presse.

“I became the first Asian ballerina to be a star and it became a topic of discussion, but I think it’s something very natural.”

The Seoul native was trained in the “Vaganova” Russian ballet method at top art institutions in South Korea.

Park has lived in Paris since the age of 21 and spoke little French when he arrived.

In June 2021, Park’s performance as the female lead in Romeo and Juliet earned her a “star” at the Opéra Bastille.

“A lot of emotions overlapped – I was so happy and so grateful, and I thought there really was such a day,” Park said. “I’ve been waiting for so long…and there were some tough times, and all of that was reminded of me at the same time.”

Park was also dubbed the ‘queen of contests’ after winning the Lausanne Grand Prix and the gold medal in Varna.