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Biographical Data

Choo San Goh was born in Singapore to Chinese parents. He was first introduced to dance at the age of ten at the Singapore Ballet Academy under the guidance of Soo Nee Goh, his sister, who had received her training at the Royal Ballet School in London, He continued his dance studies through high school and college while completing studies for his Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry, awarded by the University of Singapore in 1969.

He decided to pursue his career in dance and in 1970 he joined the Het National Ballet in Amsterdam, Netherlands. As a dancer he performed works by George Balanchine as well as Het National Ballet's three resident choreographers Toer van Schyk, Rudi van Dantzig, and Hans van Hanen. His five years as a dancer with Het National Ballet provided him an opportunity to create, in the National Ballet Workshop, his first ballets which were produced in 1973 and 1975. These initial efforts were so successful that he was awarded a grant from the Netherlands Ministry of Culture to further his work in choreography. In 1976, at the request of Mary Day, the founder and director of the Washington Ballet, Choo San came to the United States to join the company as resident choreographer. With the Washington Ballet he created fourteen original works Many of them became his greatest choreographic pieces, such as "Fives", "Variations Serieuses", "Double Contrasts", "In The Glow Of The Night", "Schubert Symphony", and "Unknown Territory", He also staged for Washington Ballet several successful works he originally created as a guest choreographer for other companies.

Choo San's reputation as an exciting young choreographer grew and he received many commissions to create or stage his works from companies such as Alvin Alley American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, The Australian Ballet, Bat Dor Dance Company, Boston Ballet, Ballet Nuevo Mundo De Caracas, Royal Danish Ballet, Jeffrey Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Louisville Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, Houston Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Ballet De Santiago, and Royal Swedish Ballet. Many of his works have been filmed and broadcast both nationally and internationally. His creation for Mikhail Baryshnikov, "Configurations", has been presented in the United States and Europe. Choo San also developed great talent as a teacher and taught many times for the Washington School of the Ballet and American Ballet Center, among others.

In 1983, he received the choreographic award In the International Ballet competition in Varna, Bulgaria for his pas de deux from the ballet "Momentum". He has also been presented with a 1978 choreographic award from the National Endowment For The Arts, Other honors have included the Mayor's Award For Excellence In Artistic Discipline in Washington, D.C, in 1986. In 1987 Cultural Medallion of Singapore, the most prestigious award given by the government of Singapore to a citizen, was presented to Choo San Goh in recognition of his contribution to the dance world. At the time of Choo San Goh's death in November, 1987, he was 39 years old.

Choo San had established the Choo San Goh  H. Robert Magee Foundation to award grants to dance companies to produce works by young, emerging choreographers. It is a significant project to help encourage choreographic talent.
His ballets will continue to be performed all over the world. The production and care of his works are cared for and supervised by his long-time ballet master, Janek Schergen. His ballets remain a testament to his creative powers.

Click here to see a list of Choo-San Goh's ballets.


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