‘Spartacus,’ ‘Romeo and Juliet’ among new season of ballet offerings

By 줄리 잭슨 (Julie Jackson)
  • Published : Jan 5, 2016 - 17:37
  • Updated : Jan 5, 2016 - 17:37

With the new year comes new beginnings, and with new beginnings comes a new season of ballet productions.

From all-time classics to Korean originals and contemporary pieces, the 2016 season offers an array of revamped choreographies for local dance enthusiasts.

Below are this year’s lineups from the country’s two biggest ballet companies.

Korean National Ballet

The Korean National Ballet company will be kicking off its 2016 season with Marius Petipa’s exotic tale of “La Bayadere,” which will be held from March 30 to April 3 at the Seoul Arts Center.

The aesthetically stunning ballet was not included in last season’s program. However, when the company first staged the production in 2013, ticket sales hovered at the 92 to 93 percent mark, a record that was repeated the next year.

Following the season opener, the KNB will perform a two-part production -- Vaslav Nijinsky’s “Rite of Spring,” featuring the compositions of Igor Stranvinsky, and a new rendition of George Balanchine’s “Serenade,” featuring Tchaikovsky’s 1880 “Serenade for Strings in C, Op. 48.” The performances will be held from April 29 to May 1 at the LG Arts Center in Gangnam, Seoul.  

A scene from the Korean National Ballet’s production of Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew.” (Korean National Ballet)
The company’s summertime program includes the comically whimsical tales of “Don Quixote” and William Shakespeare comedy “Taming of the Shrew,” which are slated to be staged from May 5-8 and June 23-26, respectively.

Closing out the latter half of the season will be “Spartacus,” which was voted by local ballet fans as the production they most wanted to see return to the ballet stage. The ballet by Aram Khachaturian will be performed at the Seoul Arts Center from Aug. 26-28, followed by “Sleeping Beauty” from Nov. 3-6.

Following tradition, the KNB will end its season in true holiday fashion with “The Nutcracker,” from Dec. 17 to Christmas Day.

Universal Ballet

Rivaling the Korean National Ballet’s 2016 lineup is the Universal Ballet’s production of timeless classics.

Opening the Universal Ballet’s new season will be one of the world’s most beloved dramatic dance pieces, “Swan Lake.” The Universal Ballet’s rendition of the production has toured more than 10 countries, including the United States, Canada, Japan and South Africa. This year’s production will be staged from March 24-April 3.

Following its staging of the ballet classic, the company will present the local ballet “Shim Chung,” in honor of the production’s 30th anniversary. A fusion of contemporary ballet dance movements and the traditional Korean folk tale of a young girl’s filial piety, “Shim Chung” will be staged from June 11-18.

The Universal Ballet Korea’s production of the Shakespeare classic “Romeo and Juliet.” (Universal Ballet Korea)
Come fall, the Universal Ballet will stage the classic tale of love and devotion in the ballet rendition of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” which will be performed from Oct. 22-29. The performance will be followed by the annual season closer “The Nutcracker,” from Dec. 16 to New Year’s Eve.

For those looking for a more modern take on dance outside of the classical ballet realm, the 19th annual Seoul International Dance Festival is slated to be held from Sept. 24-Oct. 16.

This year’s contemporary dance festivities are tentatively slated to feature performances by U.S. choreographer Carolyn Carlson and Spain’s Cordoba Flamenca and Larumbe Danza dance troupes.

By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)