2014 Vancouver International Dance Festival
Guangdong Modern Dance Company and Goh Ballet

Dates and Venue 7 & 8 March 2014 | Vancouver Playhouse

Reviewer Michael Pink

The Vancouver International Dance Festival opened March 7th with a beautiful and energetic performance by the combined talents of the Guangdong Modern Dance Company and local favorite, Goh Ballet, now led creatively by Chan Hon Goh.

GMDC was founded in 1992 and is Mainland China’s first professional modern dance company. The company combines energy and élan with dancing that is fast and technically precise. They have toured extensively in Asia, Europe and North America.

Local favorite Goh Ballet, founded in Vancouver by Choo Chiat and Lin Yee Goh has been a fixture on the dance training and performance scene for more than 35 years.
Chan Hon Goh, a former Goh Ballet Academy student and former principal dancer with the National Ballet of Canada is now the artistic director.

The program featured Voice After, choreographed by Liu Qi with music by Paul Dresher. The piece featured at one point 7 male dancers with 1 female dancers moving playfully in energetic steps. Another part of the dance had just the male dancers moving in synchronized steps which were original and well-choreographed. The music score with subtle piano allowed for greater focus on the richly talented dancers.

The second piece, Walpurgisnacht choreographed by the famed George Balanchine to the music of Charles Francois Gounod was a complete contrast that featured several beautifully dressed female dancers in classical ballet costumes and one lithe male dancer dressed in white. It was an elegant piece in the program.

The third piece, Mustard Seed was also choreographed by Liu Qi to the music of Tom Lee Pettersen, Richard D. James and Steve Reich. It was an impressive dance work that enthralled the audience.

The impressive and artistic GMDC dancers included: Yu Li-jun; Zhang Cong-bin; Li Pian-pian; Xiao Zhi-ren; Liu Qing –yu; Ma Ke; Hu Teng-teng; Li Sheng-xiong; He Min; Lai Ka Bo; Shen Wan- ying and Zhao Jian-rui.

Standouts for Goh Ballet included : Josephine Chang; Saki Okuyama; Michelle Khoo; Sophia Shaw; Lily Yu; Elisabeth Johnson, Emily Read and Diego Siqueira.

Hats off to producer team Jay Hirabayashi and Barbara Bourget for organizing a memorable dance event. It was an evening of energetic and colorful dance and a stellar launch to the VIDF season.

© 2014 Michael Pink