07/10/2017 Interview > Alumni
Until Ballet Can Capture the Heart of Everyone
Kim Kil-yong (Department of Dance, ‘92)
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Three ballerinos were dancing with the utmost concentration. The leader displayed mild charisma, never taking his eyes off the other two dancers who were showing graceful and understated motions. Kim Kil-yong (Department of Dance, ‘92), is the head of Wiseballet Theater who creates and directs ballet performances that the general public can enjoy.
Intriguing ballet performances for the public
Wiseballet Theater is famous for its unique ballet shows combining b-boy dance, tap dance, tango, and hip-hop, cooperating with other dance crews, such the famous Korean b-boy crew, Last For One. “Each ballet troupe prepares their own version of The Nutcracker during Christmas season. Our performance was complimented for its engrossing and compact organization of choreography that mix-matched ballet with other genres of dances,” Kim said with a proud grin. Since Wiseballet Theater focuses on the popularization of ballet, the diverse performances it covers range from creative and contemporary to classic ones with explanations. One of the most inspiring showcases that the troupe presented was Once Upon a Time in Ballet. Kim called the performance, a ‘ballet-cal’, meaning that it combined ballet and musical, with diverse other dance genres as well.
In addition, the troupe presented street ballet performances in Hongdae, Hyehwa, and Suwon. “Some dancers were hesitant about the idea that they had to dance on the sidewalk in front of passing bystanders. However, seeing how the people loved the show, they became enthusiastic to participate in the next shows, ” Kim chuckled.
From a ballet starter, growing to become a professional performer
At first Kim did not have an interest in ballet or even dance. After going to technical high school, Kim realized he did not quite fit in so he searched for another path in his future. Since Kim had a taste for art, and his mother once learned ballet, he decided to study ballet.
“I can’t say I fell in love with ballet as soon as I first started practicing, especially due to my masculine personality. But as I got to know ballet more and more, I found out ballet was actually very stylish, then I gradually became enthralled in its charm,” Kim reminisced. Possessing both capacity and effort, he eventually became the member of the renowned Korean National Ballet.
“But somehow, as I spent four years as the dancer of Korean National Ballet, I felt like there was an empty space in my heart. I was given the best outfit, the most impressive stages, and the admiration of others, but at the same time I felt there was something missing, ” Kim said.
The fruitful result of following his heart
With such concern, he talked to his professor Cho Seung-mi at HYU about his problem. “Professor Cho is my mentor of my lifetime. After hearing all my troubles she asked me to join her in creating the Cho Seung-mi ballet corporation, ” Kim revealed. “The time I joined in the troupe as a choreographer and performer was one the happiest moments of my life, ” Kim faintly smiled.
According to Kim, he learned Cho’s creativity and mindset about giving art performances. “One time I remember is that she made an extra show for people with physical difficulty. At first, because I was the lead dancer I felt too exhausted and tired, but when I saw the audience trying to clap with difficulty with their eyes filled with admiration, I burst into tears, ” Kim reminisced.
Unfortunately, Cho faced an early death due to cancer. After her death, He left the troupe and created his first ballet show about the stories of living as a ballerino in Korea, ‘Some things that can happen to you’, with his three friends. The show was a huge success, which made Kim to think of making his own ballet troupe. Consequently, he and his friend, Hong Seong-wook, the art director, initiated Wiseballet Theater in 2005, which continues to this day.
Wiseballet Theater gives a great number of inspiring performances even comparing to huge ballet companies. The reason for this is Kim's belief that the troupe is there for the purpose of the enjoyment of its audience. Along with those shows, Kim is currently directing Swans ballet troupe, the first amateur ballet troupe in Korea, to give opportunity to ordinary citizens to perform ballet on stage. To the students dreaming of becoming ballerinas and ballerinos, Kim advised, “Ballet is not an easy road to take in life. I once strived to become the best in ballet, but I now believe that the important thing is to enjoy oneself and find happiness when dancing.”
Jang Soo-hyun firstname.lastname@example.org
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