By AILEEN LALOR
Every child who learns to dance has dreamed of one day standing out among others in a ballet troupe and becoming a star. This dream became reality for the Director of Goh Ballet, Chan Hon Goh.
“I was 19 then, and had already been with the National Ballet of Canada for two years,” she recalls. “We were practicing The Nutcracker, the version by the compa-ny’s founder Celia Franca, when she suddenly showed up and practiced with us. After she saw me dance, she unexpectedly became convinced that I could take on the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy. This was a major Ebreakthrough in my life — an unforgettable dream mo-ment for a dancer.”
Twenty-one years later, in 2009, after an illustrious career, Chan Hon Goh decided to retire and began to plan her next steps. Naturally, Vancouver came to mind because her dancer parents Choo Chiat Goh and Lin Yee Goh had raised her there.
It is no surprise that Chan Hon Goh would be inclined to teach dance because the Goh family business is one of Canada’s most famous dance schools — Goh Ballet. It was natural that she should be invited to become the executive producer of the school’s Nut-cracker production.
“This is very meaningful, a matter of heart to me,” Chan Hon Goh states.
This classic ballet production is now in its 10th year. Not only is it a symbolic performance familiar to Vancouveri-tes, it also represents the imminent arrival of the Christmas holiday season.
What is so special about the local production of The Nutcracker? “Most people think that this ballet production is the best activity for the holidays, because it appeals to a vast array of audiences — whether it be lovers of dance or families that enjoy a simple story,” Chan Hon Goh says. “This ballet production is honoured to have the Vancouver Opera String Orchestra perform live, further immersing the audience in the experience. The cast is diverse, with exciting performances, ranging from six-year-old mice characters to world-class dancers from around the world.”
Every season, the team adds new elements and this year, a unicorn will appear for the first time in the snow scene, adding a layer of magic. For over 10 years, Goh Ballet’s The Nutcracker has become a bit of a legend in itself.
“We have a few versions and an entire generation of danc-ers. Having started with small roles at a younger age, some have now achieved success or even became pro-fessional dancers themselves,” Chan Hon Goh states. “Ten years ago, we started creating a world-class ballet produc-tion that would make Vancouver proud. The Nutcracker not only contributes to the culture of Vancouverites, but also allows everyone to feel proud of a local production.
“This season, we can confi-dently promise that there will be more diverse performers giving it their all. We eagerly await our performance on the Queen Elizabeth Theatre stage and adding excitement to your holiday season, ignit-ing the charm of Christmas.”
Goh Ballet’s The Nutcracker will play December 21-23 at Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Tickets on sale now. For information, please visit Gohnutcracker.com