15 Minutes with Ballerina Chan Hon Goh

March 20, 2015
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Born in Beijing, Chan Hon Goh immigrated with her family to Vancouver, where she studied in the professional program at the Goh Ballet Academy. Read about her favourite places to get the VIP shopping treatment to where she goes for an excellent meal with a view.

She joined The National Ballet of Canada in 1988 and became a Principal Dancer in 1994. Goh has employed her delicate lyricism and emotional depth to personify the essence of lead roles in ballets such as Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Onegin and the title roles in Giselle, Madame Butterfly and La Sylphide. She is known for the vibrancy and elegance she brings to her extensive Balanchine repertoire and has had multiple roles created for her at the National Ballet of Canada.

Goh is a much sought-after international guest artist and has appeared with numerous companies throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America. She is often invited to produce evenings of dance around the world. In addition, she was the first Canadian to receive the Silver Medal at the Genèe International Ballet Competition in London, England and was a prize recipient at the Prix de Lausanne. In 2005, Ms. Goh received the New Pioneers Arts Award for her contributions to dance in Canada. Her autobiography Beyond the Dance, A Ballerina’s Life was a finalist nominee for the 2003 Norma Fleck Award and the 2005 Rocky Mountain Book Award. Goh is the founder of PRINCIPAL by Chan Hon Goh® Inc. a manufacturer and distributor of ballet footwear. On May 31st 2009, Ms Goh danced her farewell performance as Giselle to a sold out house at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto, with the National Ballet of Canada. Her fans, audiences and colleagues paid tribute to her with a standing ovation and numerous curtain calls.

Chan Hon’s Vancouver

  • Best Building // Vancouver Convention Centre. When it first opened as a part of Vancouver’s winter Olympics in 2010, I remember thinking that the architecture and its location embodied the serenity and airiness of the West Coast. It’s situated right on the harbor with a tremendous view of Stanley Park and the mountains. 1055 Canada Pl., vancouverconventioncentre.com
  • Best Seaside Sanctuary // Dundarave Pier. It’s beautiful to go any time of year, rain or shine. I like it because it’s usually not very crowded and because I see a good mix of people: family and seniors and professionals and young couples in love. It’s not a beach just for sun bathing—there’s a play area for children, there’s a pier for people who like to go crab fishing, and there are often boats. West Vancouver.
  • Dinner at the Top // Seasons in the Park. The setting, on the highest geographical point in Vancouver, and the amazing view are always a nice departure from the busyness of the downtown core. My favourite dish is the Miso Marinated Sablefish. Queen Elizabeth Park, vancouverdine.com/seasons-park
  • VIP Shopping // The Room at the Bay. Located on the second floor of the Downtown Hudson’s Bay, the customer service and exclusive designers that they carry make it a treat to go and stay on top of current fashion trends. There’s a platinum suite with a lounge and dressing rooms that are spacious and comfortable. It feels like a boutique. If you have some time, you can order lunch and have it served in the suite while you contemplate on which garments to purchase. 674 Granville St., www2.thebay.com/theroom
  • Lunch Spot // Oru. I enjoy going to Oru at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel. The unique taste and use of fresh local ingredients has never disappointed. If you manage to get a table by the window, the beautiful view of the Pacific ocean and Grouse Mountain is simply breathtaking. Get the Bison Carpaccio and Haida Gwaii Sable Fish. Or, in the colder weather, Veal Ossobucco is a favorite. orucuisine.com
  • First Nations Art // The Museum of Anthropology at UBC I go here to learn about and be inspired by such impressive aboriginal art and culture, as well as to see the growing world art that is a part of their collection now. moa.ubc.ca
  • Bookstore // Indigo’s Park Royal Location To me, reading books is a luxury that can feed one’s soul, and because one is always pressed for time, I feel it can be a therapeutic indulgence. To go into a book store that has something for every mood as well as to be able to purchase seasonal holiday items be it Easter or Valentine’s Day, in their gift department, is just a bonus.

Vancouver Convention Center. Flickr Photo by Kevin Krebs.