Based in Seoul, Korea with dancers and staff from more than a dozen countries throughout Europe, the US and Asia, Universal Ballet embodies the blending of the grace and harmony of Asian thought and culture with the strength and beauty of western classical ballet. Dedicated to preserving the rich tradition of European classical ballet and at the same time following the trends in contemporary choreography, the company continues to be the leading force of ballet in Korea. Since its founding in 1984, the company, now led by General Director Julia Moon, Artistic Director Brian Yoo, and Artistic Director Emeritus Oleg Vinogradov, has steadily gained fame and recognition.
Performing both at home in Korea and abroad, the 70 dancers in Universal Ballet present well known full-length classical ballets such as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, Giselle and La Bayadère, as well as contemporary masterpieces such as Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort and Sechs Tänze, Nacho Duato’s Multiplicity, forms of silence and emptiness, Na Floresta and Duende, William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, Hans van Manen’s Black Cake, Heinz Spoerli’s All Shall Be, Christopher Wheeldon’s Variations Sérieuses and Ohad Naharin’s Minus-7. During their 25th anniversary season in 2009, Universal Ballet added John Cranko’s dramatic ballet Onegin to the repertory and then in 2012, Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet.
Universal Ballet owes its progress and success to a number of people who have invested in the company during its formative years. These include four American directors – founding Artistic Director Adrienne Dellas, and subsequent directors Daniel Levins, Roy Tobias and Bruce Steival. Universal Ballet inherited much of the rich ballet tradition of St. Petersburg between 1998 and 2007, while under the leadership of Oleg Vinogradov, former Artistic Director of the Kirov Ballet in St. Petersburg. Mr. Vinogradov now serves as Artistic Director Emeritus for the company.
Universal Ballet has won high praise for its success in combining Korean folklore with classical ballet in Shim Chung, and has presented this moving story of daughterly devotion worldwide. More recently, two additional Korean works, The Love of Chunhyang and Ballet Musical Shim Chung have been added to the company’s repertory.
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