keguri

Shim Chung, Universal Ballet of Korea (6.30.2010)

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Originally commissioned for the Universal Ballet of Korea in 1986, "Shim Chung" is uniquely associated with the company. More than any other work in the Universal Ballet's repertoire, it realizes the company's mission of combining the grand style of the 19th century Russian Romantic ballet with a Korean sensibility. Based on a traditional Korean folk tale of the same name, "Shim Chung" exemplifies the concept of filial piety (Hyodo), perhaps the most central virtue of Korean Confusianism. The present production is new, and, in addition to a sumptuous and charming set, it features a film of underwater dancing, projected between on the curtain between the second and third and third and forth acts.

Yena Kang performed the lead role. A former soloist with American Ballet Theater and now a principal dancer with UB, Ms. Kang is captivating and charismatic ballerina. With her strikingly long limbs, she has a beautiful Romantic line. There is a wonderfully lyrical quality to her dancing, and her arabesques are magical.

The corps de ballet is a great strength of the Universal Ballet. The sailors in the second act, and the male sea-creatures in the third act danced with considerable vigor and impressive leaps. The female dancers displayed wonderful synchronization and attention to detail. Even the angle of their hands seemed perfectly coordinated.

There is no single male lead, but instead Shim Chung is partnered by different dancers in each of the four acts. Of these, the Sea Dragon King, an amiable version of Rotbart, gave a especially powerful and memorable performance.

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Saw this ballet at the Chicago Lyric Opera House in 2000. Wonderful Seh Yun Kim stepped in to replace Julia Moon. It was a gorgeous production.

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Saw this ballet at the Chicago Lyric Opera House in 2000. Wonderful Seh Yun Kim stepped in to replace Julia Moon. It was a gorgeous production.

I was in Chicago in 2000 when the UB came to the lyric opera, but I saw Sleeping Beauty instead, so I was glad to finally be able to see this.

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Saw SB too. I think it was opening night. Again Seh Yun Kim replaced Julia Moon. I met Julia Moon a few years later in Helsinki and she told me that UB worked on Shim Chung for several years to get it right. What a luxury!

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I saw this in New York at the State (Whatever) Theater; found it quite moving!

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Saw SB too. I think it was opening night. Again Seh Yun Kim replaced Julia Moon. I met Julia Moon a few years later in Helsinki and she told me that UB worked on Shim Chung for several years to get it right. What a luxury!

I can't remember the name of the dancer in the performance of SB that I saw in Chicago, but I remember that she was a soloist, and seemed very petite. Was that Seh Yun Kim?

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Quite petite. I thought she was very lovely.

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Quite petite. I thought she was very lovely.

Yes, she was. And I was very thankful to be able to see Sleeping Beauty in Chicago. In fact, it was the first time (and now that I think of it: last) that I was able to see it live.

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