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The poster for the Super Ballet Concert of BALLET & MODEL 2024 in Seoul / Courtesy of Ballet & Model

By Dong Sun-hwa

The principal dancers of the Bolshoi Ballet will take the stage in Seoul this month as planned with a new title.

Its organizer, Ballet & Model, said Tuesday it is pushing forward the performance despite the potential backlash it can face for inviting the performers from Russia amid the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kyiv.

The upcoming show, which changed its title from the Bolshoi Ballet Gala Concert to Super Ballet Concert of Ballet & Model 2024 in Seoul, is set to take place at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in central Seoul from April 16 to 18.

According to Ballet & Model, the title has been modified to “deliver a pure heart for ballet.” However, it is believed that the company made the change in response to the recent cancelation of “Modanse,” featuring the Ukrainian-born Russian principal dancer of the Bolshoi Ballet, Svetlana Zakharova, which was originally scheduled for April 17 to 21 at the Seoul Arts Center.

The ballet piece, depicting the life of French fashion designer Coco Chanel, was called off last month after numerous parties questioned the appropriateness of inviting Zakharova — a dancer known for supporting Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Embassy of Ukraine in Korea, in particular, condemned the dancer and current Bolshoi Theatre director Valery Gergiev for having “actively and vocally condoned the criminal actions of the Russian regime in Ukraine.” It added that Russia is leveraging cultural events to justify war and genocide as a form of cultural weaponization.

Nonetheless, Ballet & Model still plans to stage its show for the growth of the Korean dance scene.

“Zakharova got embroiled in a controversy because she’s a pro-Putin dancer,” Choi Jun-seok, CEO of Ballet & Model, said. “But our performance is different and we have no issues related to that. As a former ballet dancer, I am preparing to showcase a performance contributing to the development of the Korean dance scene.”

Conducted by Bolshoi Theatre’s Anton Grishanin, the Super Ballet Concert of BALLET & MODEL 2024 in Seoul will feature the iconic scenes from 10 works, including “The Sleeping Beauty” and “Don Quixote.”



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