INTERVIEW with San Francisco Ballet’s Newly promoted Principal Dancer – Wona Park

  1. Can you explain how San Francisco Ballet Season work ? 

Normal day looks like this. We have class at 10am and have 6 hours rehearsals from 11:30 to 6:30 ( lunch break at 2:30). When we have performances we have 2 hours rehearsals and performances at night. We usually do one program for two weeks and prepare next program for two weeks. We also rehearse next program while we’re performing the current program. We have a tour season which is usually last week of October to first week of November.

  1. How does it feel to be promoted to Principal Dancer at such a young age ?

 I still can’t really believe that happened, it will become more real once we start the season i guess. I am more excited than feeling the pressure right now. I surely don’t have enough experiences yet but i am willing to try everything and be open to everything. So i am excited for this promotion and where it will take me.

  1. How does it feel to have a major responsibility on stage as a principal role? 

There is more pressure when i do principal roles for sure. But i think i feel the same responsibility as a corp or principal. To take that responsibility, i try to be 100 percent prepared which comes from the rehearsals i get. I do all the rehearsals seriously and just work hard.

  1. What is the most challenging thing about being a ballet dancer ? 

For me, being a ballet dancer can’t only be a ballet dancer. These days we do a lot of contemporary ballet, modern ballet and drama ballet etc.. we need to be sometimes contemporary dancer or actor and more. I think that’s most challenging thing for me.

  1. Your dream role ?

My dream role is Tatiana from Cranko’s Onegin.

  1. I know you are currently back in Korea quarantining with your family. Can you give us some insight of the last show you had before the theatre shut down? 

 In the opening night of program 4 which was Midsummer Night’s Dream, right before the performance starts we heard that it might be our last show of this program. We were bummed, we couldn’t believe it. But since we heard that i think everyone try to give everything in this show, so we made such a good show. After show is over, we had a company meeting on stage with our director, and he told us that we have to close the theater. After that we came up with a lot of ideas how we can still be connected with the audience and we decided to do the screaming online. So we filmed the Midsummer Night’s Dream with other cast than opening night cast and online screamed for the ticket holders. And that became the last show of the season.

  1. How do you keep motivated during quarantine? 

I try to take these zoom classes. Since i came home(Korea), i can’t really take the live class because of the time difference so i take the recorded class on youtube. Seeing all these dancers working at home motivates me. It feels like we are still working together.

  1. What is your routine now ? 

I wake up and i go to gym, work out for 30 to 40 mins and come back. I stretch and take class somedays. I watch some dramas from my computer or i read books. I’ve been into painting too. I go to see my friends twice or three times a week.

  1. What would you say to the younger generation.

I would like to tell them to try a lot of things. That sounds extensive. I am saying once you get in the professional, it becomes work and there’re some things that you can’t try anymore. You should learn more different types of dances , more competitions, study different things etc.. when you’re sure that you want to be a professional ballet dancer, it will all be a good experience for your dancing. I did a lot of competition when i was young and i think that helped me grow strong and improved my technique. I also learn some different types of dance and that helps me putting the style into different pieces now.

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