People said that dance enables you to find yourself and lose yourself at the same time. For Jonathan Loo, dancing and choreographing has been the major part of his life ever since winning his first ever dancing competition. Jonathan’s story comes a little different from those that we’ve encountered as his passion for dance stretch beyond performing in front of a cheering crowd. Read on to learn more about Jonathan’s journey!
1. Hi Jonathan! Can you please tell us more about yourself?
Hi there, I’m Jonathan Loo, a choreographer/dancer that is currently dancing for Organization XIII. I have been dancing for about 9 years now and mainly do urban choreography but I was also exposed to many different street dance styles throughout the years and recently I have been looking at contemporary. Furthermore, I have been competing and dancing internationally over the recent half decade.
2. How did you get into dancing and what motivates you to keep going?
Well, it is a long story but to cut it short, me and a group of friends decided to join our school’s annual talent competition and we came in first place. So, I guess winning that competition sorta sparked something and I have never stop dancing ever since.
The thing the sorta drives/pushes me forward every single time has been the same from day 1 till now. I wish I can put Malaysia on the map where people around know that our country actually does have many very talented dancers.
3. What is the most rewarding part of being a dancer here in Malaysia.
Dancing here at home is definitely not easy, same goes to every other parts of the world but the highest reward to me personally is when my dancing is able to make people smile and be happy. Not forgetting being able to motivate people positively to actually go and do something.
4. Where do you usually get inspiration for your dance choreography?
My inspiration normally comes from what I am currently going through. If you see me smiling a lot, you gonna expect a party song and just have everyone vibe of each others’ positive energy. Same with slow emotional songs, I have to be moody/down in order to find the correct energy to piece together the routine.
5.Favorite dancers that you look up to, and why?
There are so many dancers that I look up to but the most influential one would be Keone Madrid. Took his classes for about 20-30 times already and it always seems like he is ten steps ahead of me every single time. He spoke about some relatable stuff during his classes which hit me hard especially this quote from him “if you take care of dance, dance will take care of you.”
Over the recent 2 years, Pat Cruz has been my go-to example for a team director/dancer. Just from the way he dances to managing his team is just surreal. Would actually love to have a long chat with him in the future instead of just taking classes from him to gain further insight.
Plenty of people inspire on a daily basis but these 2 so far has made such an impact on both my dancing and the way of thinking.
6. Dancing must have kept you busy with all the endless rehearsals and competition. So, how do you find balance between dancing and studies, and a healthy social life?
I actually took the leap of faith and just went all in for dance. I was nearly able to complete a diploma equivalent certificate but just when I was nearing completion, I had to make a decision whether it’s dance or studies. At that point either one of them requires full commitment. Yes, you can balance it out depending on the person but if you are like me who doesn’t like to do things 50/50, picking one would be the wisest choice. Imagine waking up at 7am to go for classes till 5pm and then prepare to for dance lessons and have rehearsals till about 2am. Never looked back since.
7. What are the highlights which you have encountered as a dancer?
Main highlights will always be the chance to share what I know to people not only locally but also in other countries as well. I was fortunate enough to be able to teach in a few countries outside of Malaysia so far and am very grateful of that.
8. Recently, Organization XIII collaborated with Nerdunit for a promo video. What other exciting collaborations that we can look forward to in months to come?
At this very moment many things are in the works and I can’t be making any empty promises but at the rate we are going, many more opportunities like the Nerdunit collaboration will be arriving at our doorstep.
9. Has it always been in your plans to pursue dancing as your main career in time to come?
10. If you have the power to change 1 thing about the local dancing scene, what would it be, and why?
I would love to change the mindset of most dancers here and maybe educate them too. Established ones would be able to relate to what I’m trying to say. Many young ones get taken advantage of and their lack of focus is not helping them in any way. Yes, they are working hard but focus is severely lacking. Things that you can achieve in a year gets dragged over multiple years.
11. Any advice for younger dancers out there who just started dancing?
Be more open, adaptive and not jump to conclusions too quickly.