COMPILED BY JOEL TAN
Published on 6 January 2015
Goh Choo San
Goh Choo San was a distinguished Singapore-born ballet dancer and choreographer who established himself in the American ballet scene in the 1970s and ’80s before his death in 1987.
Born in 1948, Goh and three other siblings went on to establish major careers in dance. His elder sister, Goh Soo Khim, became director of the Singapore Ballet Academy in 1971, co-founded the Singapore Dance Theatre in 1988, and was awarded the Cultural Medallion in 1981.
After completing a degree in biochemistry at the University of Singapore, Goh made his professional debut with a student company in Lausanne, Switzerland. This was followed by a two-year ballet scholarship in Amsterdam, Netherlands, where he remained for almost six years with the Dutch National Ballet.
Shortly after, he joined the newly-established Washington Ballet Company in the United States as resident choreographer and later, associate artistic director. During his tenure, he received acclaim for his choreography that blended Western classical and modern movements with strong Asian influences.
Over the course of his career, the ballet star worked across America with most of the country’s major dance companies, including the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre, the Boston Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre, where he received a commission by Mikhail Baryshnikov that significantly raised his profile internationally.
During his 11 years with the Washington Ballet, Goh created 14 ballets and is credited with helping the company grow in international acclaim. One of his best-known works is his choreography for Romeo and Juliet, set to Prokofiev’s modern score.
Goh was conferred the Cultural Medallion in 1986.
One of several initiatives around Singapore to convert former government compounds into housing for arts and lifestyle businesses, Gillman Barracks is a contemporary arts cluster that houses 17 international art galleries and the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore (CCA).
The site is a former military camp established by the British in 1936. In 1971, it was taken over by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) as part of the British withdrawal from the nation. The colonial compound was vacated by the SAF in the ’90s and until 2012, was used for commercial purposes under the name Gillman Village.
Gillman Barracks is a major node in Singapore and the region’s arts scene, featuring a diverse range of exhibitions by internationally acclaimed visual artists. The centre aims to develop the region’s visual-arts landscape through research, artist residencies and exhibition programmes.
Frank Gehry is a Canadian-American architect known for his postmodern designs, which include the Walt Disney Concert Hall and Spain’s Guggenheim Museum.
His international fame began with a re-modeling of his family home in Santa Monica, California (The Gehry Residence). The design’s skewed, deconstructed approach caught the architecture world’s attention with its bold, avant-garde ambition. The Santa Monica project and other private home commissions led to larger-scale commissions for public and commercial buildings in America and Europe.
Gehry’s work is noted for its use of unconventional materials like corrugated metal, as well as his aesthetic principle that subverts established architectural forms and ideas. His work often has a crude, almost incomplete, look about it, which critics attribute to California art movements like ‘Funk’ that repurposes found everyday objects to create masterpieces.