Fourth in our International Women’s Day series - Propelled by her love for dancing, Valeria Chan, more affectionately known as JJ, became an entrepreneur just so more people could come together to share the tremendous amount of joy brought about by all these picturesque movements. It’s amazing how something you love can become part of your future job. Time to let JJ whisk us through her dancing journey!
JJ, tell us more about your love for dancing!
I started learning street dance and hip hop during my polytechnic days. But really guys - I started dancing ballet at a young age of 4. Surprising change isn’t? I found my love of dancing at that tender age, i couldn’t believe it myself either.. Following that, I tried many styles of dances throughout my life - For example, contemporary ballet, Chinese dance, and cultural dance.
I have a passion in dancing, and also teaching. I used to teach dancing as a freelance instructor when I was younger, and I moved on to being a registered dance instructor under MOE. But currently, I’m more of a choreographer now.
I would say, when a person is filled with Passion, Creative Emotions and Perseverance (Never-say-die!), these are part of a success formulae. And these in fact, were my guiding stars whenever obstacles block my path.
How did EV Dance come about?
Initially, EV Dance was just a THREE MEN TEAM - Me, Myself & I. Laughs I started it off with an event, Swaggout, where I invested all of savings from my freelancing jobs. The idea for Swaggout came about after flying to LA alone in 2008 to broaden my horizons. After a week of intensive classes, it came to a point whereby we Singaporeans realised that we were missing out on the real essence of dancing, the soul of it - right here in LA. There and then, a decision was made, instead of flying overseas to attend classes alone, we began our regular “human trafficking” of amazing dancing legends to coach aspiring dancers!
Founded in 2009, Swaggout is a valuable biennial dance festival which aims to introduce dance cultures from around the world, to Singapore’s aspiring talents, thus inducing a globalised form of sharing through the universal dance language..
On the topic of Swaggout (JJ’s baby), she became really animated & really seemed like a proud mummy while talking about it. She mentioned the motion of wanting to impact the dance scene and to open up doors for Singaporeans. As we all know, Singapore is just a lil red dot on the world map. Putting Singapore’s name out there is one of JJ’s goals!
So, can you tell me more about Swaggout?
Inspired by my trips to LA, it became very clear that by collaborating internationally, we definitely can impact the dance scene here in Singapore. That’s the core drive behind Swaggout.
It’s not all dance workshops at Swaggout , but also a platform for youths to train intensively under internationally renowned dance choreographers and finally, experience a once in a lifetime showcase experience along with their peers. Swaggout isn’t only for EV Dance, it’s for everyone - Bringing Singaporean dancers together.
I feel that Singapore can do more with regards to the arts scene. Basically there’s an empty space that can be filled with so much more. And that’s what Swaggout is for - Preserving the arts, educating, promoting healthy lifestyle and grooming positive role models for the growing local dance community!
How is it like running EV Dance as a business?
Initially, it was tough. Being emotive is a struggle for me, because running a business requires logical thinking. And my emotions might cloud my decision-making. However I am blessed to have my sisters and team chipping in to help me in this aspect! There was a huge difference before and after they have started helping me out with EV Dance.
I’m just a dancer, I only knew how to dance and teach! So running a business myself was too tough. My sisters came in, offered sound advice, gave me directions, and set everything right for the business. The best part? They took the whole operational aspect of EV Dance under their wings and left me to do whatever i do best - DANCE & IMPACTING LIVES!
Somebody who inspired you?
My mum, who is also an entrepreneur in the F&B industry. She was the one who encouraged me into starting this business. Back in 2009, she was the one who got her hands dirty, showing her full support while we got EV Dance off the grounds! -
My dad passed on early when I was 13, so she had to take care of me and my three sisters alone. I admire & respect her for bringing us up single-handedly, and also running her own stall then. Without her initial advice, I might not have started EV Dance!
Hearing JJ talk about Swaggout fervently sparked something in me. I realised that through Swaggout, she managed to nurture and build Singapore's street dance community through her own initiative. I’m inspired to look within myself and decide what difference do I want to make to contribute in the slightest of ways to the community.
Through Advocado, EV Dance is offering a special deal this March - 2 trial classes for the price of 1 @ $16. Unleash the dancer in you today & take this chance to let loose while learning a new sport. Claim your passes here!
Birthed in 2009, EV Dance is a vibrant dance company based in Singapore. They are a bridge to the community by providing local and international opportunities for diverse and engaging artistic experiences. At the EV Dance studio, they hold weekly dance classes and courses. They specialise in various street dance styles such as Hip Hop, K-Pop, Waacking, Locking, House and Urban.