World 'Art transcends race': Paris Opera Ballet's first Asian etoile ballerina
Leaked emails reveal Sydney art dealer's connections to alleged art trafficker Douglas Latchford
Emails seen by the ABC show a Sydney antiquities dealer bargaining with Douglas Latchford, a notorious collector of Cambodian art who was accused of selling looted items. The dealer says he never had a business relationship with Mr Latchford.On web pages linked to the business Gandhara, a number of items linked to controversial art dealer Douglas Latchford were featured. The items were labelled "Price on Request".
When Sae Eun Park auditioned for the world's oldest ballet institution, her Paris hotel room was so small she could not fully stretch her legs.
A decade later the South Korean has become the first Asian ballerina to reach the top "etoile" -- or "star" -- rank in the Paris Opera Ballet's 352-year history.
The 31-year-old's promotion came as the world of elite classical ballet faces growing calls for diversity and inclusion.
She is one of only two current foreign-born etoiles at the renowned company, defying years of different training, a language barrier, injury and the POB's notorious competitive exams, which determine all but the highest promotions through its rigid five-rank hierarchy.
James Bond: Daniel Craig has his star on Hollywood Boulevard
While "die can wait" has just come out in the French rooms, Daniel Craig has inaugurated his star on the "Walk of Fame" of Hollywood Boulevard. He joined thus Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan. But not Sean Connery. © Backgrid UK / Bestimage James Bond: Daniel Craig has his star on Hollywood Boulevard A new James Bond at the firmament, among the stars visible on the famous "Walk of Fame" of Hollywood Boulevard, in Los Angeles.
"I believe that art -- not just dance -- transcends nationality and race," Park told AFP.
"I became the first Asian ballerina to be an etoile and it's very much become a talking point, but I think of it as something that's very natural."
A Seoul native, Park trained in Russia's "Vaganova" ballet method -- which emphasises soulful expression, strength and flexibility -- in South Korea's top art institutions.
When she arrived in Paris aged 21, she spoke little French and had never attended classes at POB's affiliated ballet school -- which provides around 90 percent of its dancers and teaches a dance style that prioritises elegance and precision.
Rocket science? Try conducting a ballet
At university Alexander Rodrigues faced a choice between two potential career paths: astrophysics, or music? © Eddie Jim Apprentice conductor Alexander Rodrigues with the Australian Ballet. 16 September 2021. The Age Arts. Photo: Eddie Jim. You could argue the now-28-year-old conductor-in-training took the more difficult option: the art of corralling a hundred musicians into ineffable, celestial harmony.
But in June, after Park performed the female lead in "Romeo and Juliet", her "etoile" nomination was announced to the Opera Bastille, prompting a standing ovation and her to break down into tears.
"A lot of emotions were overlapping - I was so happy, and so grateful, and thought there really is such a day," Park recalled.
"I had been waiting for so long... and there were times that were a bit tough, and I was reminded of all of these all at the same time."
- Seoul to Paris -
Park joins a group of millennial South Korean dancers in the top ranks of the world's most prominent companies, including Kimin Kim at the Mariinsky Ballet and Hee Seo at the American Ballet Theatre -- many of them inspired by trailblazer Kang Sue-jin, a former principal for Germany's Stuttgart Ballet.
Celebrated as a teen prodigy in the South, Park was dubbed the "queen of concours" after winning the Grand Prix de Lausanne and Gold Medal at Varna, two leading prizes for aspiring ballet dancers.
Glenn Youngkin's Complicated History on Critical Race Theory
In an effort to court skeptical right-wing voters, investment firm exec turned Republican candidate for governor of Virginia Glenn Youngkin has made banning critical race theory from public schools a cornerstone of his campaign. But there are a couple of problems with Youngkin’s pledge. First, Virginia schools say CRT doesn’t appear in educational or training material. And second, just last year, Youngkin incentivized his employees to donate to organizations which champion the same social justice policies he now pledges to outlaw—and promised that his company would match those contributions.
At the time she was particularly praised for her technique, such as leaps and turns, but Park says she always wanted something more and found her inspiration in YouTube videos of POB dancers, including its current director Aurélie Dupont.
She quit her soloist position at the Korean National Ballet -- its second-highest rank -- for a one-year contract as a POB quadrille in 2011, the lowest position at the company.
Now she is also lauded for her emotional depth and lyricism, with Paris-based dance critic Laura Cappelle noting her "inner serenity, a gift for slowing down time on stage".
Park -- who comes across as perceptive, humble and genial in equal measure -- trains for up to nine hours a day.
Her ascent through the ranks was interrupted in 2015, when she needed cosmetic surgery after a colleague accidentally kicked her in the forehead while practising.
Frieze London art fair returns after pandemic break
Britain's prestigious annual art fair, Frieze London, reopened on Wednesday, for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic forced it online. Staged in giant tents in Regent's Park, as well as across the 410-acre (170-hectare) green space, the event showcases both contemporary art and earlier works, including Old Masters. The organisers cancelled the physical event last year because of the challenges thrown up by the pandemic, instead creating a platform for commercial galleries to show art online.
She failed that year's promotion exams and fell into depression, avoiding mirrors for a time for fear of seeing her scar.
The only coping strategy was to simply keep dancing.
"You only have two options anyway," she said. "You either give up or just keep trying."
- 'White world' -
Kim Yong-geol, a South Korean former POB dancer, described the company as a "cloistered society that prides itself in its tradition", with a "ruthless" promotion system.
"It can make you feel completely shattered," he said. "The very last survivors of that gruelling process become etoiles. I think she has accomplished something that's impossible."
Unlike the New York-based American Ballet Theatre or the Royal Ballet in London, the Paris Opera Ballet has very few foreign dancers.
After Black Lives Matter protests gained momentum in France, the Paris Opera in February launched a diversity drive, commissioning an independent audit that pointed out only 25 of the ballet's 154 performers were from overseas.
The organisation was "a white world a long way from what contemporary French society looks like", the authors wrote.
POB did not respond to multiple requests for comment from AFP.
Gavin Larsen, the author of "Being a Ballerina", described Park as an "important artist for our time".
"Her choice to explore beyond her native culture, both in terms of ballet and daily life, shows her willingness to be vulnerable — which is the only way a true artist can be," she told AFP.
Park admitted she wondered whether being Asian would deprive her of opportunities.
The competition was always fierce and effectively pits dancers against their own longstanding colleagues.
"We all practise together, so you can't avoid witnessing how others are dancing even if you don't want to, and this can make anyone very anxious," she said.
"It's really hard, but it's so much harder if you resent or become jealous of others.
To truly survive, she added, "you have to make your rivals your friends".
Conservative YouTuber Slammed for ‘Disgusting’ Attack on Asian Newscaster .
A conservative YouTube provocateur known for his wildly offensive content has come under fire for spewing racist vitriol while attacking a local news reporter. Steven Crowder was suspended from YouTube earlier this month for hate speech, after repeatedly pushing a fake story on his channel about a transgender woman who allegedly raped and impregnated an inmate at a women’s prison. A California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesperson ultimately threw cold water on the false story. Just months before, Crowder and his YouTube co-hosts went on a spiel mocking Black farmers and American slavery.