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Title: The Korean National Ballet (KNB) : moving and making national identity
Author: Yang, Youngeun
ISNI:       0000 0004 5365 3689
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2015
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The Korean National Ballet (KNB), founded in 1962, is a pivotal, government-funded ballet company which acts as a national representative both domestically and internationally. This thesis investigates how the KNB has contributed to the formation of ‘Korean ballet’, a complex phenomenon interpreted through Homi Bhabha’s concept of post-colonial hybridity as a ‘doubling’ of the Western ballet form which simultaneously resists it through indigenisation. It examines the company’s artistic trajectory and repertoire, and analyses how it translates the codified ballet vocabulary to develop its own distinct movement style. The central concern is to show how such hybridisation enables the KNB to fulfil its role as a national organisation charged with representing Korean identity. While the introduction of ballet into Korea is a classic example of cultural imperialism in Edward Said’s sense, the nineteenth-century Russian ballet tradition, particularly Yuri Grigorovich’s interpretations, has exerted more direct authority, foisting colonial sentiments and demands onto the KNB via its set criteria and conventions. Thus a coloniser/colonised division separates the Russian and Korean ballet fields, as colonialism refers not to a past political system but to present sentiments and strategies inscribed in the process of continuing imperialism. The thesis evaluates how the KNB subverts these colonial demands to appropriate ballet as a legitimate means of articulating Korean identity. In the process, it negotiates various forms of state-led nationalism, supporting and shaping cultural policy by absorbing and transforming indigenous elements to bolster and reshape the national image propagated by the state. Paul Gilroy’s work on camp-thinking provides the theoretical foundation for understanding the political reshaping of national identity, while his reflections on the black diaspora confirm the hybrid cultural space as a new site of identity-formation. Thus the thesis nominates the KNB as a crucial insitution in the development and reshaping of national identity in Korea.
Supervisor: Carter, Alexandra; Jackson, Jennifer Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available