Magazine article Dance Magazine

With Official Sponsorship, Korean National Ballet Prospers

Magazine article Dance Magazine

With Official Sponsorship, Korean National Ballet Prospers

Article excerpt

SEOUL--South Korea may not be the first place that comes to mind when one thinks of ballet, yet at least two major companies now operate in Seoul. One of these, National Ballet Company of Korea (NBCK), was founded in 1962 by Korean dancer Lim Sung-nam.

NBCK is directed now by the energetic Kim Hae-shik, a former company member whom the Korean Ministry of Culture appointed to succeed Lim one year after he retired in 1992. Kim, one of the first Korean ballet dancers to acquire a reputation in the West, appeared with Zurich Ballet from 1967 to 1969 and danced as a soloist with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens from 1970 to 1972. While in Montreal she created the role of the Acid Queen in Fernand Nault's famous rock ballet Tommy, and she inspired John Butler's Catulli Carmina, as well as performing classical parts. Kim also taught and choreographed in California for fifteen years, working with Fresno Civic Ballet and the California State University at Fresno, before she was summoned back to her native land to direct NBCK.

Kim is now in a good position to help the ballet to develop in Korea, working in tandem with the Korean government, which has a large stake in NBCK. The government regards the ballet as an educational project, provides $1.2 million of its $2.5-million budget, and takes the revenue from its ticket sales. Last year culture minister Lee Min-sup established a committee of high-ranking officials to help raise money for the company from private sources. …

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