Truth Is My Sword Volume I - Collected Speeches in the Public Arena

by Bo Hi Pak

A New Era in Ballet Culture

August 31, 1990

The following speech introduces the formation of the Universal Ballet Academy in Washington, D.C., bringing together the finest ballet talent from the former Soviet Union. Dr. Pak spoke at the opening ceremony of the Universal Ballet Academy on August 31, 1990, in Washington, D.C. The school was renamed the Kirov Academy of Ballet in 1992.

Welcome to the Universal Ballet Academy, and congratulations to all of the entering students. The Universal Ballet Academy is today being formally inaugurated in the capital of the United States. This noble cultural institution is given birth and will progress toward its great objective of educating the world's most talented and skilled young men and women in the art of ballet. The doors of this academy are now open to the world, welcoming students of every color, creed, and nationality.

President George Bush has sent his support and congratulations in a letter to Mr. Oleg Vinogradov, the academy's artistic director, saying that he looks forward to our great success. As chairman and president of the Universal Ballet Foundation, which is the sponsoring organization, I echo his sentiment. I look forward to the glorious success of this academy in the days to come.

Ladies and gentlemen, I know this academy will be successful because we possess all of the ingredients for success.

The first ingredient of a successful enterprise is leadership, and the academy boasts an excellent group of leaders. The artistic director is none other than Mr. Oleg Vinogradov, artistic director of the Kirov Ballet, one of the most eminent ballet companies in the world. The Kirov, with its highly original repertoire, has long been a pace-setter in the world of ballet, and Mr. Vinogradov is the man who made famous the modern-day Kirov Ballet. He brings this same devotion and commitment to the Universal Ballet Academy, where he will direct policy, curricula, and programs. Most important, he has a noble vision. Through the academy he wishes to share his talents not only with the Soviet Union but with the entire world.

Famed Leadership

Mr. Vinogradov has put together a staff and faculty second to none. Mr. Oleg Briansky is the associate director, Yelena Vinogradov is assistant to the artistic director, and Mrs. Muriel Briane is assistant to the associate director. The teaching faculty, headed by Mr. Vinogradov, consists of Ludmila Sakharova, People's Artist of the USSR, Nikolai Morozov, Ludmila Morkovina, Azari Plessetski-with more to follow. It is a real Who's Who of the ballet teaching world. With this famed leadership and faculty absolutely dedicated to the common goal of building the world finest academy, we cannot but succeed.

We also have a second ingredient for success, which is this beautiful facility. I have been told that it is the most state-of-the-art ballet teaching facility in the world. I can assure you that these facilities will get even bigger and better in the days ahead.

The third ingredient for success is the support and commitment behind this academy. The Universal Ballet Foundation is determined to see this project through, and we have every confidence that our school will produce the highest quality artists year after year. Of course, the academy exists not only so that the students who study here can become great artists. We are concerned that every student have the proper academic training, and we intend to accomplish this by maintaining the highest standards of hard world and excellence.

Your children are in good hands. A high-quality, competent, and mature staff will meticulously care for each one of them. They will be working, studying, and living in a wholesome environment.

In no way is this going to be an easy school to attend. We will encourage, foster, and demand excellence, high standards, hard work, and a disciplined way of life. Our full-time scholarships will go only to those who deserve them. This academy is not an ordinary school. It is an uncommon institute. We intend to select only uncommon men and women to become future world-class stars.

In addition, we have the great fortune of having a distinguished executive advisory council for our academy. Margot Fonteyn, Natalia Makarova, Jehan Sadat, Aaron Rosand, Renata Scotto, and many others are members of the council. These advisors will accelerate our development and allow our graduates to impact greatly on the world of ballet.

The Founder's Vision

At this time, I would like to explain more about the vision of Reverend Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Universal Ballet Foundation. As you know, Reverend Moon founded the Unification Church. But you may not be aware that he has long been a patron of the arts.

In 1962 Reverend Moon founded the Little Angels of Korea, a children's folk ballet company that is known throughout the world. The New York Times called it a phenomenal company. The Little Angels have performed at the White House for the president of the United States, in a command performance before the Queen of England and before many other heads of state, in the United Nations General Assembly Hall, and for the first lady of the Soviet Union.

Reverend Moon also sponsors the New York City Symphony, which has a great history. One of its former conductors was Leonard Bernstein. A few years ago, Reverend Moon founded Artists Association International to promote dialogue among the different currents of artistic expression. International conferences have been conducted in London, Paris, and New York. The association also awards scholarships to aspiring young students of the arts. Certainly Reverend Moon has invested a great deal in young people's artistic education.

It is for this same purpose that he founded the Universal Ballet Foundation and the Universal Ballet Company in Korea. Recently, Reverend Moon went to the Soviet Union at the invitation of President Mikhail Gorbachev and first lady Raisa Gorbachev for an extraordinary private meeting. At that time he applauded the artistic excellence of the Soviet Union, especially in the field of ballet. Reverend Moon promised to help share the esteemed Russian ballet tradition with the rest of the world, and the Universal Ballet Academy is the result.

Reverend Moon is sponsoring the Universal Ballet Academy out of his love for art. This academy is open to members of all faiths, colors, and nationalities, and the particular beliefs of every student will be respected and encouraged. Please be assured of our sincerity in this matter.

Mr. Vinogradov has said that Washington must become the ballet capital of the world. I have no doubt that it is possible, and the Universal Ballet Academy is only the beginning. With his vision and creative genius we are taking our first big step toward that goal.

Once again, thank you for coming. I thank you, Mr. Vinogradov, Mr. Briansky, and all the faculty and staff members for undertaking this dynamic program of ballet education. I believe in my heart that, with the opening of the Universal Ballet Academy, a new era in Western ballet culture has dawned.

May God bless you and thank you so very much.

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