Aaron Poh was cautioned against becoming a professional dancer by mentors from the industry. After all, he had a full-time job at a creative agency and dancing was not something he had taken to naturally from a young age. But in 2023, he decided to take a leap of faith.
We caught up with Aaron to find out why he decided to go down this all-or-nothing path and any lessons he has gleaned from the process.
Who is Aaron Poh and what drew you to dance?
Hello! I'm a 23 year old with dreams of being a creative and teacher. I graduated with a diploma in marketing and was employed in a creative agency before I decided to pursue dance!
I discovered that I liked to dance after being exposed to music as a child. But I only picked up dancing more formally when I went to secondary school. Funnily enough, I did not enjoy it and especially disliked the training. This changed after I met some mentors. Dance has taught me to become a better person and to always prioritise being a good human. I hope to follow in the footsteps of my mentors and use dance as a medium to inspire others.
Where are you on your journey?
I'm taking my time to find my place in the local dance scene and building a reputation for myself. I’m doing so by joining competitions, choreographing for dance teams, teaching open classes and at schools. This has helped me understand myself better as a person, a teacher and a leader. I do not have a full-time gig but I'm currently in the dance crews NOOOICE!FAM and BRAOS.
Funnily enough, my dance mentors were the ones who provided the loudest caution against my decision. They definitely meant well and were looking out for me and making sure I fully understood the gravity of the decision I was about to make.
Being in this industry or just chasing your passion in general requires three major things: purpose, awareness and discipline. I do have a lot of fear.
I definitely worry about things like my finances and whether I have what it takes. However, the flipside of that is hope. I think it's important for everyone pursuing your dreams to bear that in mind when facing your fears.
Ultimately, I decided to go ahead with the decision because I believe in myself and my purpose, which is to inspire and uplift youths in the dance community to be better people and dancers!
How has this decision changed your life?
I have cut my expenses by a lot, but I still feel great to be living and enjoying what I do. Things that I used to enjoy like shopping or going out to lavish places for nice meals have taken a backseat. However, in return for that I got to spend more time with myself and focusing on my passions and the things I want to achieve. I have also learnt to appreciate the simpler things in life, such as having a roof over my head and being able to have access to basic things we need for survival.
Who are the people who inspired you and what advice do you have for others contemplating a similar move?
My mentors from NOOOICE. They constantly remind and inspire people to be better humans. That they're able to do this through an art form just shows the power of dance and its limitless potential to connect people.
To those contemplating a similar move, be bold, be daring and take action. Some people who have made it may not have been great at the start, but they're where they want to be now simply because they took action. It may take some time, but with enough preparation the opportunity will surely come by one day. Stay rooted to your purpose, it will keep you going. But also remember to be aware. Don't neglect other important things in life such as family and friends. The truth is there is more to life than just our passions :)
How do you think you are challenging conventions through your choices as a creative?
I challenge conventions by always trying to bring fresh and new approaches to my craft. I would love to merge different art forms with dance, such as films, live music and fashion to inspire the world.