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Korean National Ballet to perform ‘Le Corsaire’

Posted April. 13, 2022 08:09,   

Updated April. 13, 2022 08:09


The love story between righteous pirate Conrad and innocent young woman Medora by 19th century English romantic poet Lord Byron will be put on stage. The Korean National Ballet will be performing “Le Corsaire” at the Opera Theater of the Seoul Arts Center (SAC) from April 20 to 24. The 1899 choreography of “Le Corsaire” by French choreographer Marius Petipa has been reconstructed by many artists. The Korean National Ballet has been performing their new production of “Le Corsaire” since 2020 with their own choreography, narration and music.

This season, principal dancer dancer Heo Seo-myeong, 32, and soloist Shim Hyeon-hee, 30, will be playing Conrad and Medora, respectively. This is Heo’s second time playing Conrad while Shim will make her debut as Medora. The two performed their first stage at Chuncheon Culture & Art Center on April 1 and received a standing ovation from the audience.

“It was my first time so I got very nervous. But Seo-myeong helped me to loosen up and relax,” said Shim during an interview with The Dong-A Ilbo on Tuesday. “I was so excited during the performance but after it was all over, I was so out of it,” added Shim, smiling.

“The audience probably didn’t notice, but Hyeon-hee was completely nervous at first,” Heo said. “It’s not easy to shrug off the nerves but she quickly became herself on the stage like a pro.”

The choreography of “Le Corsaire,” which was newly created by former Korean National Ballet soloist and choreographer Song Jeong-bin, requires a high level of skill and physical strength. It is notorious for being difficult among ballet dancers as it is full of difficult dance sequences, ranging from 34-38 fouette turns to a high level of lifts.

“Because it is full of constant moves, we can only take a short break when the audience applauds. So the longer the applause, the better because we can take a rest,” Heo said jokingly.

“It is technically difficult, but we should also focus on expressing the feeling of love. We have to make eye-contacts and smile at each other while dancing,” Shim said. “There is a lot of work that needs to be taken care of.”

The two said they are busy practicing pas de deux whenever they have time. They said they pay special attention to the pas de deux in the bedroom in the Act ll, which is a dance between the lovers.

“When the pas de deux begins, Medora enters the bedroom leaning on Conrad. But we decided to make a small variation here,” Heo said. “When shy Medora hesitates to enter, Conrad grabs her hand and leads her into the room.”

“We decided to make that change after discussing the scene during practice. We talked about how a girl reacts when someone she loves approaches and how two people in love hold hands,” Shim said.

Heo and Shim, who went to the Sunhwa Arts High School together, have known each other for more than 10 years and now they are performing on stage together as members of the Korean National Ballet.

Ji-Hoon Lee easyhoon@donga.com