The May 11th presentation at North Vancouver's Centennial Theatre of this wonderful Russian story put into ballet was professionally put into mise-en-scene by the students of the Goh Ballet Academy. Starring in the lead role was graduating student Brianne Bland who, I'm sure, is off to join a professional ballet company as did Chan Hon Goh, the daughter of the Academy's Artistic Director, Choo Chiat Goh. Chan is now the Principal Ballerina of the National Ballet of Canada in Toronto.
Other graduates have moved on to other professional ballet companies: Alice and Boyd Lau in Paris with the Jeune Ballet de France; Eric Trivett with the Oregon Ballet; and last but not least, Mike Frye who played the male lead role in this production, now with the Shanghai Ballet.
The show began with a mixed repertoire: Tarantella, choreographed by Lin Mei Fang, a melange of colours and a variety of dance steps I found very amusing; Pastorale followed, choreography by Chen Jiuan Nian. I swear I was watching the Bolshoi Ballet as the dancers in their immaculate white costumes gracefully danced away to Mozart's music. Trois Pas de Deux followed. I was moved by the creativity of Choo Chiat Goh's choreography of "Lost Love", lovers in black, appropriately danced to Bach's music.
The main attraction, "Fairy Doll", was excellently executed by a variety of dancers and colourful characters--truly a venue for student dancers who expressed themselves professionally in a melange of colours and dancing to different international themes: the CanCan from France, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Russian dolls. I liked, in particular, the subtle eroticism portrayed by Jessica Edgley and Mike Frye in their Persian dance.
All in all, the production was a success and I heard the shouts of joy of the cast as the curtains closed to Bravos and to some members of the audience who gave a standing ovation.
I was truly impressed by the high calibre professionalism in this production: the discipline, grace, beauty and majestic performance of these dancers.
The vision of the co-founders, husband and wife team Mrs.Lin Yee Goh, the Academy's Principal, and Mr. Choo Chiat Goh, the Artistic Director, who founded this professional school 20 years ago, was to send its graduates to the world's great ballet companies.
Today, they have made this vision a reality.
Lin Yee Goh is a graduate of the Beijing Dance Academy where she trained under Russian masters Elenna Sergeivitski and Nikolai Romancheva. She went on to perform for the Central Ballet of China and upon retiring, taught here as well as the Beijing Dance Academy where she graduated. Choo Chiat goh studied at the Royal Ballet School in England under Harold Turner and went on to dance for the Beijing Dance Academy and the Central Ballet of China.--Ed Farolan