One of the veteran dancers that forged the way for our Singapore scene today, Ahmad Kamil’s classes at O School are always packed to the brim with young and eager dancers willing to learn from his craft.
You can check out his choreography in collaboration with his wife here:
His friendly, approachable method of cultivating dancers serves as an inspiration to many. Scroll on to read more about his journey!
Talk me through your dance journey. Who/What inspired you to begin dance?
“I was already dancing Malay traditional dance at a very young age only during kindergarten, because of the influence of my mother, Suriyani Pani. Then only at the age of 13 did I pick up street dance and fell in love with it all because I was asked along to dance for a school concert. It snowballed from there and from just dancing as part of a dance group, I started to form my own team and choreograph on my own as well.
I even formed my own crew back in 2008 called Fad Faction. We were actively competing in the scene all the way until 2012. That crew is no longer active in dance but we do meet up to catch up. They were the first people that allowed me to explore and share my journey with.
The local crew Styles From Beyond was the main catalyst to further work on my craft and creativity when I first saw them on TV during the very first season of The Dancefloor on Channel 5.
Following that, the discovery of Shaun Evaristo through Youtube during his pre-Movement Lifestyle era was another inspiration to further explore and hone my craft.”
What kept you going?
“Definitely the joy it brought to me and the fact that it was a never-ending learning journey. I was always amazed that there were so many things to work on and improve on and even explore.
Even until now, with it being my career, it is still the same feeling. I’m still discovering more avenues to explore which makes the journey even more exciting.
I also find fulfillment in being there for people because dance does affect others and it does have a positive influence in people’s lives and the fact that I have this gift, I would love to constantly do that as long as I am capable.”
Any difficulties that you experienced dancing? And how did you overcome it?
” Finding your voice, developing your voice and assuring yourself of the voice that you have is what helped me through the process.
Constantly believing in myself, staying positive and seeing things from a bigger perspective definitely helps me overcome those oncoming difficulties.
On a more less serious note, flexibility. Hahaha. But I’m happy to see improvements in my flexibility. Thanks to my wife for introducing me stretches that can help me improve and also reminding myself to just keep stretching. And finding contentment in small growth as it helps me keep going.”
What made you decide to pursue dance as a career?
“My first trip overseas to share in Jakarta was the turning point. Knowing the impact I could give, the possibilities that this career has beyond just dancing. I was on the verge of signing on as a full-time policeman but I know that would never give me that same fulfillment.
So instead of having “what ifs”, I decided to prepare myself and went head-long into this career.”
What does dance mean to you?
“It is literally my life.
It gave me purpose.
It gave me joy.
It gave me responsibilities.
It even gave me my life partner.
Dance is my life.”
Any wise words that you keep in your heart when the going gets tough?
“God put me through this because he knows I’m strong enough. Trust the process, give my best and all will be well.”
Please define what Community means to you.
A community is a collective of people that:
- Believe in each other
- Motivate each other
- Inspire each other
- Push each other
- Be there for each other
What are your thoughts on our current dance community?
“The dance community is more close-knitted as compared to back then when there was a clear separation.
I love the fact that the older generation and younger generation are learning from one another, embracing each other more through supporting one another and respecting one another.
One thing that I have to say to the younger generation is, be patient in aiming to “teach” classes or anywhere in particular. There is so much more beyond the “5678” that even I’m still trying to understand.
It is constant work on our craft and there’s no need to rush to any destination. If you’re young and new to the scene, enjoy learning and dancing. Teaching is a HUGE responsibility. It is a PRIVILEGE to teach so you have to earn that privilege.”
“Trust the process. Always be a student, find the right teachers.”
Having been teaching in the scene for a while now, how has your perspective on dance shifted?
“This is constantly shifting as the more I learn, the more teachers I learn from, the more it adjusts my perspective. However, BEING RESPONSIBLE for the students has always been something that I look at.
I see more now and I’m aware of more things so I guess in a way in enhances my perspective, allowing me to see further as I’m adding on to my original belief/perspective”
What do you hope to see in the future for the Singapore dance scene?
“I hope that the Singapore dance scene (street dance in particular), could embrace our local culture more and use that as an inspiration for our craft. It is very rich and will be able to give us our identity as a Singaporean dancer.”
In recent years, urban dance has been center stage at many performances and competitions. Could you define urban dance for our readers?
“Urban Dance is a choreographer’s personal interpretation of movement and music. It is a showcase of his or her experience and philosophy in movement.”
How did you decide on urban as your class genre?
“I never “decided” on urban. Back then there wasn’t anything called “Urban dance”. I think naturally there was an inclination towards whatever I did and somehow it just became what it is.”
To all dancers that intend to pursue dance as a career, any words of advice for them?
“BE HUNGRY to learn ANYTHING. Be open. This career can a long one if you are open to learning. And I really mean learn anything. Not just physically dancing but also other aspects of the arts that will broaden your perspective of dance or performing arts in general.
Collaborate more as that will open up to more possibilities.
BE DECISIVE, don’t wait for something to be given to you. Don’t feel that you are entitled to anything. You must always work and earn for everything that you want.”
Finally, any events in the upcoming months that we will be able to catch you at?
“TPDE will be having their annual production, GEM and I might perform! Hahaha! Six.5 is also producing a dance film which will be out somewhere late March. As well as working towards a dance production in June.
For now, these are the few that are coming up! More detailed information will be out soon 🙂 “