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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Ballet Schools in Korea


dancypants1

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Looking for any and all info on pre- pro studios for ballet in Seoul or other cities.

 

My DD briefly attended Universal, Gangnam branch for classes. If anyone is interested, I can give directions, phone numbers, etc. The school is on the 4th floor of a building across from the express bus terminal in Gangnam, Seoul, large beautiful studios, English speaking (to a degree), of course top notch instruction. Lovely calm instructors.

 

Korea National Ballet has a school at the Seoul Arts Center, also in Gangnam.

 

Come one, come all- any info on anything in Korea, please post!

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  • 1 year later...

Ok so no action here, lol. I have found a very interesting school in seodaemun, Seoul called Seoul Tanz Station. I cannot link from my ancient iPad, but googling gets you to their English site. Also look at YouTube, many videos. They are not really a ballet pre pro, though they have a bustling adult program, beginner through former professional. More exciting (to me) are the offerings in literally every other kind of dance- Horton, Graham, jazz, hip hop, jazz funk, k pop, pilates, yoga, ballroom, Korean folk, and about eleventy billion more. The 6 month or one year unlimited coupon seems am impressive deal, breaking down to about 300 a month for classes pretty much all day (assuming you haven't got a job or school as most do). as most prero ballet schools in Korea are strictly ballet, Seoul Tanz Center seems like an excellent way to get a more well rounded dance education and even pick up extra ballet technique classes if wanted (their instructors have impressive resumes). I assume, based on the numbers of non Koreans in the photos and videos, that there is some familiarity with English by at least some teachers or staff, but not having ever been I can't say for sure.

 

If anyone has any experience with this school, please message me. They seem geared towards adults, but I am investigating for ,y DD, who will be 14 if we move to Seoul next year. I am hoping she is not too young to partake of their amazing offerings- we have nothing comparable here, and what little we do of Graham or Horton is so expensive-!

 

Otherwise I suppose next year we can be the ballet guinea pigs of Korea. I do know where to get leotards, tights and pointe shoes in Seoul, so if you need to know, message me. The pointe shoes are a Korean made brand, super cheap and perfectly serviceable- wish we could get them here in the us!

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  • 8 months later...

I am pretty much talking to myself here, but feel compelled to compile this information somewhere in English for anyone else moving to Seoul and needing ballet.

 

Universal Gangnam is now called Julia ballet academy, the English language website has not been updated to reflect this and the link is dead. The Korean website is updated though, with the change, there are now several branches- Gangnam (seocho really), Bundang and one other. Julia Ballet Academy used to be a summer-intensive style short term program run by Julia Moon (former Prima and I believe artistic director of Universal) but she is now heading Gangnams year round school or at least it's under her name.

 

They have adult classes, as well. Same location across from express bus terminal.

 

I am not sure there is English available if you call, but by Kakao talk which is a free text message ap widely used in Korea you can chat in English easily. I sent a message via Kakao but then broke down and called and spoke Korean, but I did get a nice reply in English later via Kakao. Auditions, schedule, tuition, they will answer all questions. Very handy. The staff at Universal, from when my DD was taking a once a week class at 8, to now trying to get pre pro training, is very kind and accommodating. You know how sometimes at ballet programs you get the feeling they think they are doing you a favor even deigning to speak with you? It's not at all like that at any Universal ballet program, they are really above and beyond helpful and kind.

 

Korea National Ballet is having auditions in November for their program, there is information online, in Korean only though. I'm sure it is incredibly selective so probably a long shot for any students wishing to study ballet there, but at least it is possible to try, if you can read the website and apply to audition.

 

There are myriad small schools on every block, but the quality of training is a mystery. It is very common for girls to go en pointe at 7-8 at many of these schools, so be aware of that. Similar to the US, most are recreational programs, but I imagine there is also good training to be found outside of the two biggies I just don't know how long it would take to evaluate schools and find it. Perhaps I ought to look for BTFD, the Korean version.

 

Sending this out into the void in the hopes it helps someone someday!

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  • 3 months later...

An update on the Korean ballet scene. Julia ballet (formerly Universal Gangnam) is lovely, the director is so passionate and optimistic it is infectious! I did not expect to find such a nurturing environment so it has been a really nice surprise. They also have a large and dedicated adult program, for adult dancers interested in leveled, cumulative adult classes- they are not open classes but a curriculum and have a performance for adult students too. My direct experience is with the childrens levels, and I must say it is outstanding. Attention to core strength via floor barre and a PT on staff, careful evaluation of students en pointe and attention paid to not over training or causing injury is a big focus. The atmosphere is very nurturing, but the classes are intense- sizes are small, amd no one escapes the eyes of the teachers! Dd likes that she works so hard the full class time, there is no goofing off and she has worked very hard in her classes with classmates who also work hard, it's quite nice for the serious student. The teachers appreciate and expect hard work and focus, which is exactly what DD wants.There is a focus in the lower levels of preparing students for entrance to arts elementary, middle schools and in the upper levels to arts high schools and colleges. The school is very proud of their studentsmacceptances to these schools and not at all proprietary of students- they announce acceptances proudly and my dds class even called former students to wish them well on exams. The director and some teachers also speak emglish, so that is nice for the english speaker. It's a very inspiring place, and I couldn't wish for a better school for DD. DD says it's the best part of her day.

 

I will have no info on KNB as DD does not want to audition there because she is happy at Julia Ballet. I can certainly help anyone trying to navigate that though if needed!

 

Seoul Tanz really does offer everything under the sun, and the teachers are very impressive. The students tend to be adults, with some college students and the random teen like DD thrown in. There is great English spoken there by the staff, so English speakers will have no problem. The students seem to be a bit cliquey and so that might be hard to overcome if you are young and new, but the instruction is worth getting through that. DD has observed that only in ballet, not in other classes. A word on jazz- it is not very jazzy, as we think of it in the us, you will want jazz fusion, stylish jazz, girlish jazz or hip hop for what we consider jazz. It is what I would call contemporary in the US, and differentiated from modern in that it isn't a specific style (Horton, Graham, Cunningham) but it isn't "jazz" as DD would think of jazz. Think angsty music, falling to the floor, etc. The modern instruction is top notch at Seoul Tanz, it is really amazing to have a resource like this. and the facilities are beautiful, great view of Seoul from the balcony.

 

Hope this helps someone- if you are an adult in Korea who wishes for serious study, try Julia. For drop in classes, can't beat Seoul Tanz, and for modern it's amazing. And parents of youngsters, there are many rather frightening ballet schools in Korea that put kids in pointe shoes very young, but Julia Ballet is not one and has appropriate, intense classes for students of all ages with a great atmosphere.

 

If anyone comes to Seoul message me, I will gladly help you navigate the dance scene here as best I can!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am wondering if you would recommend taking the Universal Ballet's summer intensive pre pro program? My daughter is 15 and will have completed her Advanced 1 RAD exam and I thought I would combine this summer intensive with a trip to Korea. The videos and online information look good and I was wondering if you thought the program would be worth it. She is a serious dancer and is hoping to have a career in ballet after graduating. Thanks for the help and info.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Okagals, I just saw this! I don't know much of anything about the summer program, I'm afraid. The training at Universal is definitely geared for the aspiring professional though, they asked DD first off what her goals for ballet were in that regard. But as to what the summer program is like, I just don't know anything about it.

 

If you download a free app widely used in Korea (can be used everywhere- my family and friends in the us use it to text me now) for text messaging called Kakao talk and search for Universal Ballet Academy, they will text you (in English) and I found them very forthcoming to answer any questions when we were getting ready to move here. So maybe try that to find out more? They may not answer for some time as Korea is on the opposite side of the world from the west, and you will get a Korean "auto text" saying they are closed at the moment, and they will reply later when they are open, just FYI.

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  • 2 years later...

Thank you Dancypants1, I'm interest to look for a summer intensive for my DD, any updates?  

Okegals, did your DD ended up going to the summer intensive? 

 

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  • 3 months later...

Dancypants1, I know your original post is now over three years old, but I would be interested in hearing all of your experiences with Universal/Julia's.  I have been to Korea several times, but this time, I will be bringing my family and would like to find a structured school for my teen and pre-teen.  Thank you for keeping this out there, even if it seemed like you weren't reaching anyone.   This is EXACTLY the kind of information I was looking for.

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  • 4 months later...

I am interested about Julia's Ballet.  I've been disappointed with the two parent-money sucking ballet academies DD has been part of -- one even recommended by RAD Korea's rep.  We are happy to spend  [money[  [because] ballet education is expensive but the schools were geared to recreational ballet or the competitive Korean education system which we don't want.  Acc[ording] to DD, she was bullied with the T[eacher] not ignoring it at the recommended academy.  Also the T[eachers]s didn't show concern about developing core stength but doing technique which kids weren't prepared to do.

Edited by dancemaven
Spelled out complete words per BT4D Rules and Policies.
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David Malcolm if you in or near Seoul, some of the best training in the world is available in Seoul. look at the Sunhwa Arts Academy and the KNUA. These are two very good places to begin your search. Neither school is RAD. Both are based on the Vaganova program of study. Your DC will most likely have to audition for entrance. Both programs are highly professional.

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Those two schools are geared for aspiring Korean ballerinas.  They probably follow the general Korean educational system which we haven't been part of (eg. very competitive Korean SAT).  We are aiming for DD to only train in an after-school ballet academy.  We plan for her to complete university study abroad (US, Canada, Russia, Germany, Australia).  We don't want her to be trapped into the ultra rote-learning/competitiveness of Korean educational system.  She has studied English educstional system since kindergarten but does speak Korean.

Edited by David Malcolm
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I wish you and your DD the best. 

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Hi David Malcolm,

I’m slightly confused. Are you looking for a pre-professional training program for your daughter or a recreational program? If you are looking for a pre-professional school that would prepare your daughter for dancing professionally after turning 17/18/19, VRS has given you two wonderful schools. I’m not sure what you are referring to about the Korean Education System. Both schools use the same curriculum that most professional schools in Russia use. After all it was developed there. This method is also taught in Europe and the US (modified). I do not think it has anything to do with SAT scores but would require an audition to make sure that your daughter has the right physical facility for ballet, that at age 14 her technique is at the correct level, as well as looking for musicality, artistry, flexibility and natural coordination. It would be the same in any pre-professional ballet school regardless of the country. 

 

If the school is full time, again like most major ballet schools are then perhaps if you are not satisfied with the academics you can use an international curriculum as opposed to Korean. Each country would be different on their educational requirements anyway and most dancers at this type of training program would have the makings of a professional career. If your child wants to dance professionally the most important part of that is getting the best possible training available. As said in other posts, Korea has some of the finest ballet programs in the world. 

 

If your dancer isnt wanting to become a professional dancer and is planning to attend university after high school then it isn’t as vital that the training be world class. I guess that is where I am confused. 

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Fraildove I don't know David, but from reading his post it looks like what he is trying to say is that those ballet schools are linked to the education system that not only has physical ballet requirements but also academic test scores to be a part of those schools.  For example one must be accepted to attend ballet and academics all in one... I could be wrong but that's how I took it😊

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