Chan Hon Goh: Principal Dancer at The National Ballet of Canada

1. What does a typical Thursday look like for you, starting from when you wake up – to heading to bed?

On a typical work day I get up at 7:45am, get my son Aveary ready to go to daycare and make sure that he and my husband are out by 8:30am. I then savour my cup of coffee and check the morning news. I start my day at the studio with a 10:00 a.m. training class. This gets me ready and warm for my rehearsals that are called though out the rest of the day, which can go as late as 6:30 p.m. Presently I am preparing for the ballet An Italian Straw Hat, which opens at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on February 27th and runs until March 2nd. When I get home, supposing there isn’t a special event that I am commited to, I help with preparing dinner but more importantly, I squeeze in some play time with Aveary before it is time for his bath. He loves to sing and dance. Sometimes he shows me how good he is at certain games and I feel like a stupid adult for underestimating his creativity! By 8:30 p.m., the house is quiet and my husband and I get to chill and unwind a bit… that is if there isn’t a pile of unopened mail or email messages that have to be answered. We often share and discuss issues related to our shoe business Principal Shoes. I like to relax with a hot bath and a good book or magazine. I would also have the evening news on in the background. I try to be in bed by 11:00 p.m. but it’s not always possible.

2. What was your first job out of school?

My first job out of school was a Corp de Ballet dancer with The National Ballet of  
Canada. I had to learn how to move in unison with precision and pick up various different styles of choreography quickly.

3. What are the 3 skills you require most to do your job well?

i. Self-motivation
ii. Ability to assimilate corrections and dance styles
iii. Musicality

4. What do you love most about your career?

I get to dance for a living.

5. If a woman wanted to get into this business, what are your recommendations of how they should start?

To build a professional career in dance, one has to start training at a very young age and the training aspect never ends until the day that one stops dancing. I can comment on my entrepreneurial career which I started 10 years ago. Principal by Chan Hon Goh™ is the only Canadian company to provide footwear designed by dancers for dancers with medical input on specifications to prevent common dance related injuries. On starting your own business, I recommend that you really know your product and market it well; have certain mandates and philosophies that you keep with and make sure that this is what you want; and consider as many aspects as you can on the pros and cons of your situation.

6. Do you have any warnings?

Be ready to commit a lot of time. This is no longer your job; it becomes your life.

7. If you could try a different career on for a year, what would it be?

I’d like to be an interior designer.

Photographer: Richard Lautens

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