LOOKS can be deceiving. Reborn Khoo is a perfect example of this phrase.
At first glance, the 28-year-old from Klang looks like a mild-mannered accountant.
In reality, his chosen career has nothing to do with numbers.
Instead, since the age of 18, Khoo has been an avid street dancer, specialising in popping and locking.
How did your passion for street dance begin?
“When I was 18 years old, I was looking for some kind of activities to join. I wanted to join a break dance class. But I did not have the guts to join a class alone.
“I tried to convince my two friends to take the class with me. But my friends were not keen. They were more interested in joining the street dance class.
“So I decided to [follow them]. Slowly, I began to like it.
“I have joined street dance competitions [both] locally and overseas.
“[Participating in] international competitions has allowed me to visit so many countries, such as Japan, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand.
“I participate in street dance workshops to enhance my knowledge. I’ve even joined two dance competitions on TV.
One is called Battlegrounds and the other is Showdown.
“I am now a full-time street dance instructor, teaching street dance in universities and dance studios.
“I never dreamed of making street dance my career. In fact, I graduated with an advanced diploma in graphic design. I always thought dance would be just my hobby.”
How did your parents react to your career choice?
“My parents run a business. They supply spare parts for forklifts.
“My parents did not protest when I wanted to be a dancer. They were just worried whether I could earn enough money from dancing.
“I think they are proud of me whenever I participate in international competitions, and when the students I teach put up a fantastic performance.”
What advice can you give a young person who wants to dabble in street dance?
“The street dance community is small here. You need to travel overseas and check out the street dance communities there. You should observe them and learn from them.
“In that way, you could enhance your knowledge of street dance. Travelling always opens your mind to new ideas.
“I remember watching a 45-year-old person doing street dance in Japan. It showed me dancing has no age.
“If you take care of your health, you can dance at any age.”
What are the challenges you have faced as a street dancer in Malaysia?
“If you are a singer, there are a lot of platforms for you to showcase your talent. That is not the case for street dancing.
“The job scope is small. I have to work hard just to sustain myself. But I have not regretted making street dance my career.
“Street dance is a great art form for me to express myself. Street dance is a dance that promotes unity, peace and love.”
Do you exercise, or follow a certain diet?
“I do exercise. I go to the gym five times a week.
“But going on a diet is out of the question. I love food too much. It is difficult for me to control my food. I try to burn the calories I eat through exercise.”
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
“My weakness is sometimes I can be negative about myself. Perhaps I have high expectations of myself.
“But I am slow to balance the negative and positive energy in me.
“If I talk about my strengths, I feel as though I am bragging about myself. It feels weird to praise myself. I think it is a question you should ask my friends.”
Where do you see yourself in five years?
“I am seriously contemplating joining my father’s business. I like his business strategy.
“I am planning to open a plant in Johor Baru. But I will not abandon my street dance.”