Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - 102 - A Great Ballerina Retires

Heather says Now The Iron Butterfly will dance in your mind forever.

Travis says 40 years old. That's unusual for a woman to dance ballet that long, isn't it?

Shan says Beautiful.


Julia Smith said...

"[Dance] is a voice that I've been able to speak with," says retiring principal dancer Chan Hon Goh. "It's my way of expressing. And so I feel in many ways that a part of me will be dying.

"But not to say that I will not be involved in the arts in the future - I look forward to that - it's just that I won't be able to personify the music that I love so much on stage anymore." - Chan Hon GohNational Ballet of Canada's Artistic Director Karen Kain says “She may look tiny and fragile, but underneath she is strong physically and psychologically. She has will and determination. She's smart and organized. Chan is the quintessential Iron Butterfly.” - Globe and MailThis past weekend marked the final performance for 40-year-old Chan Hon Goh.

I was priveleged to have watched her career through the 1990's when I worked at the theatre where she performed. I was unable to attend her final performance, as I'm no longer living in Toronto. But she was most definitely in my mind and in my heart.

For dance lovers, a part of us dies, too, with every favorite dancer who retires. No one will ever grace the stage in the same way.

Thank you, Chan, for every remarkable and brilliant performance.

Heather said...

So happy you had opportunity to see Chan Hon Goh perform now The Iron Butterfly will dance in your mind forever.

Travis said...

Wow...40 years old. That's unusual for a woman to dance ballet that long, isn't it?

Julia Smith said...

Heather - It was an incredible joy to witness so much talent for so many incredible years. It's so horribly crushing to know that I will never see her dance again.

Travis - Many of the National Ballet of Canada dancers retire in their early 40's. Over the years I think the dance world has learned how to extract the best performances with the least wear and tear on the body. I think that's why the level of dancing at the National is so fantastic. Dancers are able to continue physically for several more years once they have achieved the inner mental understanding of how to perform the roles. Traditionally, once dancers understand what it's all about, their bodies give out.

Shan said...


Happy WW!

Brooke said...

You are so lucky you got to see her dance... I can't call it a performance because that word just doesn't seem to explain how beautiful she was to watch..

Julia Smith said...

Shan - Truly beautiful, inside and out.

Brooke - I was an usher so I got to watch all the performances. I was there when she danced her first solo roles and every time she debuted in a major role. Incredibly exciting, especially as she grew as an artist, transforming from mere technical brilliance to true emotional performances. I'll be honest - when she first began to take on the main roles, her technique-only magic wasn't quite magical enough for me. But then something amazing happened. She dug down deep inside herself and exposed the real Chan - and I became an enraptured admirer.

M. said...

I never had the chance to see Ms. Goh dance in person, but I did see lots of breathtaking photos and some television footage. Very beautiful.

I did have the privelege of seeing Ms. Kain perform a modern solo piece once. It was mesmerizing.