Chan Hon Goh
Chan Hon Goh, ballerina, impresario, entrepreneur (b at Beijing, China 1 Feb 1969). An internationally acclaimed Canadian classical ballerina of great poise, delicacy and unaffected charm, Goh is notable for her resourceful versatility. She organizes foreign ballet galas, co-manages a ballet footwear company and has written a successful autobiography for young readers. Goh is also in demand, particularly in the Asian-Canadian community, as an inspirational guest speaker and celebrity host.
Goh comes from a Chinese family deeply immersed in dance, especially on the side of her father, Choo Chiat Goh. Both her parents were principal artists with the National Ballet of China. A paternal uncle, Choo San Goh (1948-87), became a celebrated choreographer in the United States. The family settled in Canada in 1977, where Goh's parents opened the now much-respected Goh Ballet Academy in Vancouver the following year.
Her parents initially considered Goh unsuitable for the physically exacting art of ballet (her body coordination and suppleness were limited) and enrolled her in piano classes. At age 9, however, Goh began studying ballet with an aunt at the Vancouver Academy of Music, and latterly in her parents' school. In 1988 she was the first Canadian to win a silver medal at the prestigious Adeline Genée competition in England and the same year joined the NATIONAL BALLET OF CANADA, where she rose through the ranks to become a principal dancer in 1994. Due to injuries sustained in a 2006 auto accident, she retired in 2009 after a farewell performance in Giselle. Goh's cumulative repertoire with the National Ballet was diverse and extensive, ranging from the traditional full-length story ballets to abstract contemporary works, but she has been especially noted for her refined classicism and a dramatic gift that is subtly embedded in the expressiveness of her dancing.
Beyond the National Ballet, Goh appeared widely as a guest artist, notably with the US-based Suzanne Farrell Ballet, where she received critical acclaim dancing works by renowned 20th-century choreographer George Balanchine. She is actively involved in her family's Goh Ballet in Vancouver as artistic coordinator.
In 1997 Goh married former dancer, now teacher Chun Che, her longtime offstage partner. The following year they co-founded Principal Shoes, a private company with its own successful line of Che-designed ballet pointe shoes and other dance footwear, which Goh plays a major role in promoting and marketing.
Chan Hon Goh's autobiography, written with Cary Fagan, is titled Beyond the Dance: A Ballerina's Life and was published in 2002.