Chase the dream: Jonathan Goh

Young, free spirited and on fire for cirque artistry

Charity Chan

Published: 15 April 2015, 12:37 PM

Circus art holds a special place in Jonathan Goh’s heart. Just toss some juggling balls or spinning plates at this 19-year-old and he will surely blow you away with his jaw-dropping circus tricks!

Jonathan is currently under a five-year mentorship programme offered by Bornfire, a non-profit organisation that aims to bridge differences through the enjoyment and splendour of circus arts.

Jonathan’s Performance in Chingay 2015 Photo Credit: Phoa Kim Meng

Early this year, Jonathan was honoured to be asked to choreograph an item for Chingay 2015. The performance included various fire acts, which was one of the highlights of the event.

“It was really an experience because I used to have the mind-set of a performer. But there are a lot of responsibilities,” said Jonathan.

Coming in 2nd at the NTU Chinese Society Diabolo Competition Photo Credit: NTU Chinese Society

For Jonathan to successfully reach this level of circus artistry, there were numerous setbacks he had to overcome, such as his academics and rocky family situations.

Dealing with his parent’s separation was painful and emotionally draining for a child who was still in primary school. Not knowing how to rightfully vent his frustrations, the 9-year-old would play with fire at his void deck, alarming the staff at Town Council.

However, his first encounter with fire spinners was at Sentosa. Seeing professionals juggling with fire, performing fire eating and fire-breathing acts amazed him.

Determined to craft his skills, Jonathan joined Bornfire Community Circus interest group, in 2011. Since then, he has been committed to the group and trains regularly for upcoming performances.

Jonathan and his crew members performing at the Bonfire Festival Open Stage 2014 Photo Credit: Benjamin Lim Zerui

Like any other secondary school student, Jonathan had to balance both schoolwork and training. His lack of time management however, resulted in him being retained in secondary three.

“That year I retained. I studied harder and did well. Circus forced me to study hard,” said Jonathan, who is currently pursuing an Arts Business Management (ABM) diploma in Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

Within the next three years, Jonathan hopes to grow the existing circus community, not only in terms of size but also the level of skills.

“I want to come up with performances that will inspire people and make them think why I’m doing this performance other than wow-ing them,” Jonathan explains with fiery enthusiasm.

Jonathan’s mother, his number one supporter Photo Credit: Phoa Kim Meng


While he keeps his passion burning for circus art, Jonathan is also working on a style that defines him and to call his own.

The passionate circus artist also shared his plan in starting his own circus company within the next three years.

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