Ballerina Park Sae-eun, who joined the American Ballet Theater after she won the first prize at the prestigious dance competition Prix de Lausanne, in Feb. 2007, will join the Korea National Ballet Company in May.
Having also won second place without a first prize winner in the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi, in 2006, Park is the only Korean ballerina to have won prizes in two of the four major ballet competitions in the world (the other two are Varna in Bulgaria and Moscow in Russia).
After graduating from Yewon School in Seoul, she entered Seoul Arts High School in 2005 and took the gold prize at the Dong-a Dance Festival, a first for a first-year high school student. After her triumph at the Prix de Lausanne, Park went straight to the ABT, regarded as one of the top three ballet companies in the world.
"I was on stage over 50 to 60 times a year in 15 works while I was with the ABT. The fact that I even got a chance to practice in the same place with the world's best ballerinas such as Nina Ananiashvili, Paloma Herrera and Gillian Murphy was immense privilege," Park says. "I sort of had to learn by watching them in the ABT because of communication difficulties. In the Korea National Ballet Company, I think I'll be able to learn more about ballet in more depth and breadth."
"I'm happy that I'll be able to live at home for at least two or four years," she admits. She adds she would love to experience classical ballets such as "Giselle," which tests the limit of expression, or "Swan Lake," with its charming characters, and comic "Don Quixote." "If the opportunity comes, I plan to go abroad again afterward," she says.