AUGUST is the month of national pride and the month of celebrating all things community.
Our Dancer Of The Month is someone who represents the core of community itself –– Lester Fisherman! With his genuine personality and insightful teachings of dance, he has gained a following of loyal dancers who respect him for being himself.
In fact, his choreography to Don’t Let Me Down reached over 700k views!
Talk me through your dance journey. Who/What inspired you to begin dance?
“I started dancing/performing when I was little. I was in Chinese dance for a year in primary 2. The next year my school had a merger and the Chinese dance instructor didn’t continue with us and since then I stopped dancing until I was primary 5.
In between, I picked up taekwondo and I would like to think I excelled in it cause I had two double promotions (I’m not sure if it’s a big feat though *laughs*). And because of taekwondo, I was pretty good at picking up choreography cause I had to learn a dozen different patterns from white all the way to junior black belt.
So to cut the long story short, I was forced to accompany my sister to do a cultural performance for Singapore Soka Association (SSA). I believe it was my first Hip-hop dance instructor, Phua Jinwen’s patience with us that allowed my interest in dance to grow steadily. Ever since then, I have not stopped dancing!
I got to give a shout out to these two (my sister and Jinwen) for without them I wouldn’t have started my journey.”
What kept you going?
“I believe it was my friends and my good fortune of opportunities that gave me strength in whatever I’m doing.
All of the mentors I’d met through my journey taught me more than just dance. When you go deeper, you realise it’s not just a hobby anymore. I guess having a sense of purpose in life plays a very big part as well? For me, my purpose is to use dance to meet and impact people positively.
I guess it is safe to say dance is pretty much my life now.”
Any difficulties that you experienced dancing? And how did you overcome it?
“I guess the difficult part is to always stay relevant, yet respecting the art. There will be times when your creative juice goes dry, and you can get lost at times.
Normally I would go out to take classes or talk to friends about it to inspire myself. The mindset of ‘always being a student’ helps me a lot when I constantly tell myself that I have so much left to learn. This ties very closely to my drive as a dancer.”
What does dance mean to you?
“Dance is the visual interpretation of music and lyrics. An artist uses such mediums to convey messages to their audience and to make them feel something and to get a point across. For me, I like to use dance as a form of expressing emotions that I don’t show normally. I would like to see dance as a form of liberation for myself.”
What influenced your decision to follow dance as a career?
“I wanted to do something meaningful with the tools that I have. The fact that I have a group of friends who are as passionate – or even more passionate – about dance than me was the kind of energy that gave me a lot of faith and courage to go into this industry.”
Having been in the industry for a while now, what changes did you see in the urban dance scene then and now?
“The biggest change is the fact that there are more platforms for urban dancers and choreographers. Studios in Singapore are gracing our community with events that provide platforms for exposure to the public and greater job opportunities for dancers. It’s definitely growing, but we really need to work together more, maybe a Singapore dance festival by all the studios? Like we don’t have to be doing things together all the time, but the feeling of coming together once in a while would be a good opportunity for the community to know each other better and spark more ideas and bonds!”
How do you think dance will change in the future (for Singapore)?
“More collaborations within the entertainment industry in Singapore. More dance and musicians coming together! What is local dance without local music? A strong sense of belonging as a dancer in Singapore, being appreciative and proud of what we have. We may always look on the outside as the benchmark for growth. But I believe if we start to create our own benchmark, we would definitely feel more for our community!”
Please define what Community means to you.
“A community is like an eco-system. Every aspect of it is important for it to function well. A group of people with a common interest.”
What are your thoughts on our current dance community?
“We are taking the time to engage in meaningful dialogues to understand and bond with one another. That being said, we should really come together more to inspire each other!”
Any wise words that you keep in your heart when the going gets tough?
“If you love what you are doing, you need to have to do the things you don’t love as well. No matter what happens – success or failure – nothing is ever wasted. It is how you take away from all these experiences and continue to push forward.”
To all dancers that intend to take up dance as a career, any words of advice for them?
“You must be 110% sure that this is what you really want to do. You can speak to dancers who have been working for a couple of years to get a better understanding of making dance a career for yourself. Once you know your options then you have to be disciplined in working towards your goals. It’s easy to get lost in your pursuit, but just remember to enjoy the process of things.”
Finally, any events in the upcoming months that we will be able to catch you at?
“I am sending a team to SUPER 24 Finals! If you see me around, just say Hi!