Ghost Chan & John Chan

BEng (COMP) / BSc (BISC)


The Kaleidoscope has profiled HKUST alumni that have pursued the arts before, but this time, here are two alums that immersed themselves in the world of dance from divergent paths. They are Ghost Chan and John Chan (not biologically related): Ghost graduated from HKUST in 2012 with a BEng in Computer Science, while John holds a BSc in Biological Sciences, which he earned in 2017. The same year, they co-founded The Devisers Company with Shum (not a HKUST alum), a contemporary dance group, now renamed ShumGhostJohn.

Most professional dance artists don’t have coding or lab work in their background, but that is what Ghost and John initially pursued after completing their studies. Ghost was an app developer—a job very much in demand then and now. Why did Ghost turn his back on this field? He says, “During the five years I worked as an app developer, I felt I was being transformed into a computer myself.” Remembering how much he loved dancing after encountering it at the HKUST Dance Society, he was running to dance classes or rehearsals after work during his full-time career as an analyst programmer. Ghost has now become a freelance programmer instead so he could devote more time to his artistic career.

John, meanwhile, has loved dancing since primary school. As a biology student, John never thought of turning his hobby into a professional career, and instead became a marine biology research assistant. John concedes, “I was too afraid to pursue my own dreams, and opted for the senses of safety given by a full time job in a laboratory instead. Ultimately however, dance was what I wanted to do the most, so I took the plunge.” The mindset and knowledge that he has acquired through the biology career is now informing his artistic practices.

Pushing aside all doubt and hesitation, Ghost and John took a trip to audition for dance programs at several European dance schools in the spring of 2017; the same year, they won the coveted Kangaroo Cup Dance Competition and produced two dance videos. Together, they aim to create contemporary dance that explore a variety of global issues. These performances helped them raise funds that enabled them to kickstart their MA programs at the London Contemporary Dance School, a world class dance conservatoire.

Having completed that MA degrees in December 2019, Ghost and John are based in London now, and their work has already been shown in some of the great cultural capitals of the world elsewhere, including London, Hong Kong and Vienna. Some of their most recent works include Meniscus and Skirmishes.

Ghost and John are now positioning themselves as a multidisciplinary art duo, who carry out researches, write and make interactive works that encompasses dance, spoken text and videography. In their own unique manner, Ghost and John have displayed immense courage and creativity that exemplifies the HKUST ethos in its varied and finest form.

Know more about the Ghost and John