Dancers from the Goh Ballet have nabbed the top two awards at the International Ballet and Contemporary Dance Competition Vienna,--the first time in the contest's history that Canadians have taken both the top spots.
This past weekend, Michelle Khoo won the gold medal and Chihiro Abe won silver. Both have trained at Vancouver's Goh Ballet for the past 10 years and are members of its senior professional program, and it was the first worldwide competition for both. In all, the Goh sent four teens over for the contest.
To qualify to compete with more than 200 other dancers from 20 countries, Khoo and Abe had to first submit video auditions. On-stage at the event, Khoo first danced a Flames of Paris variation, then interpreted a variation from the Coppelia ballet for her final, winning round. She won the first prize in the Ballet category as well as the Most Talented Young Performer award in Contemporary.
Abe won over the judges with her performance of the Bluebird variation from Sleeping Beauty in the first round, and then the solo from La Fille Mal Gardée in the finals.
“I was extremely proud of the Canadian representation here in Vienna as their love of dance radiated across to the audience," Chan Hon Goh said in a statement after the competition. "Vienna is a recognizable centre for the arts that is well-respected and admired for its cultural history – it brought such joy to my heart to be able to see Goh Ballet dancers prove their accomplishments on this international stage."