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Meet Sae Eun Park, the First Asian Etoile Ballerina in Paris Opera Ballet

Sae Eun Park from South Korea

Sae Eun Park from South Korea has become the first Asian ballerina who managed to reach the top etoile in Paris Opera Ballet. This is the first case throughout the 352-year history. The 31-year-old performer got a promotion as the world of classical ballet meets increasing calls for diversity and inclusion. Park is considered one of two current foreign-born stars at the renowned company.

first Asian ballerina who managed to reach the top etoile in Paris Opera Ballet

A Seoul-based, she learned Russia’s ballet method which is known for its deep expression, strength, and elasticity in South Korea’s art institutions. When she came to Paris at the age of 21, she could barely speak French and knew little about elegance and accuracy. However, in June, when Park took part in Romeo and Juliet her star nomination was announced and she burst into tears: she was so happy and grateful.

Before, Park was named the queen of concours and was adored for her leaps and turns. But now, she is praised for her emotional depth and lyricism.

Sae Eun Park Became Paris Opera Ballet’s First Asian Etoile Ballerina

However, her quick rise was prevented in 2015, when she underwent cosmetic surgery after a colleague unexpectedly kicked her in the forehead during the practice. Then she failed the exams and fell into depression. But nevertheless, she continued dancing. And despite the competition from her colleagues and the tough period in her career, she became who she is now.

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