So this weeks post is going to be a little different..instead of focusing on Vancouver Theatre I am here to write about a very special experience I have had recently with a very special company in Vancouver. This company is called The Goh Ballet and they have been going strong in our city since 1978. Goh Ballet is arguably the most reputable ballet training institution in our city, exporting graduated dancers to professional companies all around the world.
Goh Ballet is also a victim of the recent media controversy of the selling of a treasured Vancouver Arts Venue; The Centre in Vancouver for the Performing arts. It’s take over by the wealthy Westside Church has only recently been announced to the public and has been the subject of much community controversy. After speculation of whether Goh Ballet’s Annual Production of The Nutcracker will be going ahead as usual, it has finally been announced that it will- to the joy of many happy children and community members (and staff members)!
I started working for Goh Ballet a little over three months ago. While new to the ballet scene, I grew comfortable quickly- many skills from my theatre experience easily transferable to my new position. I am the Student Affairs Coordinator and so deal with many young up and coming professional ballet dancers on a daily basis. I have quickly grown to love ballet. I sometimes find myself watching classes with rapt fascination from my desk ( where I have a perfect view into the studio), mesmerized by the dancers fluid movements and elegant grace.
I was lucky enough this past weekend to work on Goh Ballet’s 35th Anniversary Gala Performance- a year end production showcasing the progress the students have made throughout the year and celebrating the 35th year of Goh Ballet’s presence in our community. It was truly a special evening. The director of Goh Ballet, Chan Hon Goh, and the Artistic Director of Bard on the Beach, Christopher Gaze, spoke to an audience of over 1,200 audience members before the show, discussing Goh Ballet’s important role and history in Vancouver. After the show finished, there was an adorable moment where Ms.Goh’s six year old son presented her with flowers onstage and it all culminated in a large celebratory balloon drop! Talk about your grand finales!
It was a mesmerizing show. The music, the projections, and the world premiere choreography combined together brilliantly to showcase the dazzling skill of those young dancers. I feel extremely blessed and proud to be working on behalf of the Academy to be contributing in some small way towards their careers. In between greeting various VIP guests I managed to watch the show standing from the back of the theatre. It was the cumulation of everything we had as a group been working towards- and it was magnificent.
The experience was one I have felt time and time again working in the arts industry. Proud, enlightened, and fulfilled. There were many a moment while working in the Abbey Theatre, The National Theatre of Ireland, that I questioned how in fact I had actually managed to wind up here and be involved in such a beautiful creative atmosphere. That is how I felt that night at Goh Ballet. And that feeling can carry you through many a disheartened moment that inevitable occurs within the arts industry.
It just so happened that I spent my previous evening having a couple drinks with a bunch of random bankers. Listening to their conversations and studying their characters reaffirmed in various ways my chosen profession and yet made me question it. These people made a lot of money. They were proud if it- and why shouldn’t they be? It made me wonder why and I’m working in the arts when I could be doing similar work using my same skill set for a some bank or law firm and earn 5 times what I currently do. And then I nearly slapped myself.
I would rather be artistically fulfilled than rich. I would rather be less well off but but passionate about what I do everyday. I wonder are many bankers passionate about what they do? Perhaps there are but I just know I could never be. I want to look back at my career and value those moments, those relationships and those personal triumphs I had rather than think about how much money I’ve made. I want to be proud of the industry/organization/artistic expression that I represent. I felt that way about the various theatres I have worked for and I feel that way about Goh Ballet. I love that feeling and I look forward to always having it in my career.
Lastly- Shameless push but only because I am SO excited about it myself: Come see the Nutcracker at Christmas!