British Columbia·MY B.C. HIDEAWAY

'A place where I go to clear my head': Goh Ballet director finds refuge in West Vancouver

When you have a busy life running a ballet company with hundreds of dancers, sometimes you need a little time to yourself.

Chan Hon Goh lived in Toronto for 21 years but couldn't resist returning to B.C.

Goh Ballet director Chan Hon Goh used to perform in The Nutcracker with the National Ballet of Canada and now manages the production for her own company. (Goh Ballet)

When you have a busy life running a ballet company with hundreds of dancers, sometimes you need a little time to yourself. 

Such is the case for Goh Ballet director Chan Hon Goh, whose favourite spot in B.C. is the West Vancouver Seawalk close to her home. 

Goh talked about the spot during a short break from managing the company's current production of the seasonal favourite, The Nutcracker, which opened Thursday night.

"It is very peaceful and beautiful and I feel like, when I'm there, I seem to find myself. I seem to be inspired by nature and the quietness," she said of the West Vancouver seawall.

"It's a place where I go to clear my head and also it's a place where I just love being there and thinking how lucky we are to be a part of this planet."

The West Vancouver Seawalk is a 1.7-kilometre path that goes from from the bottom of 18th Street to Dundarave Park. (West Vancouver)

21 years in Toronto

Goh grew up in Vancouver and moved to West Vancouver for her senior year of high school. She then spent the next 21 years in Toronto, where she danced with the National Ballet of Canada. 

But she always considered B.C. her home.

In 2009 she moved back to West Vancouver with her husband and son, who is now 10, to be close to her parents and take over running Goh Ballet from them. 

Her first task was to produce The Nutcracker, a show she has performed in several times herself at numerous venues. 

Goh says opening night of this year's production was a hit.

"It was amazing. The cast outdid themselves. I'm very, very proud of them," she said. 

"It's really, really fulfilling for me to be able to put [on] the show and to showcase so many talented dancers." 

'Special spot'

The show goes on until Tuesday, and given that Goh manages both the operations and artistic aspects of the show, she's not likely to have much time to herself before then. 

But when she does get back, she says she will be admiring how close her favourite spot is to nature, with the Lions Gate Bridge and downtown Vancouver just across the water.

"It's a really special spot for me to know that I have everything and I can do anything," she said. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Maryse Zeidler

@MaryseZeidler

Maryse Zeidler is a reporter for CBC News in Vancouver, covering news from across British Columbia. You can reach her at maryse.zeidler@cbc.ca.

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