This amazing story about a British boy named Billy living in a mining town while seeking his passion for ballet has, in movie form and musical form, charmed audiences all over the world. The Broadway musical has opened in London, U.S., Australia and guess who’s next? South Korea.
Broadway musicals have always done very well in South Korea, where I’ve enjoyed watching Cats in English, a Korean version of Rent (which was really fun and very interesting in Korean), and Mamma Mia in Korean (super fun!). I’ve heard that tickets for Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera were sky-high and impossible to get in the country. With the popularity of these shows, I hope the ballet musical Billy Elliot takes the country by storm.
Korean ballet dancers, as well as those from all Asian countries, are slowing growing in international recognition by consistently winning awards at international ballet competitions and gaining acclaim as professional dancers. Sadly, most of the acknowledgment has been skewed towards the female dancers, like Sue-Jin Kang and Yuan Yuan Tan. Check out this YouTube video from the Bolshoi Academy, showing young ballet students in partnering class and see how many Asian dancers you can count.
I hope Billy Elliot in South Korea can be another example of how theater can help change the perception that sometimes, you just gotta dance, even if you’re an Asian boy.
(Photo Credit: New York Times)