What was supposed to be a 5-question interview turned out to be leisurely 30-minute chat over some nosh as we met choreographer Dejan Tubic at *SCAPE Warehouse recently for the launch of the global anti-smoking movement Live It Up Without Lighting Up by the Health Promotion Board. He may be responsible for executing some mad skills on the interwebs with his hip-hop dance classes at the International Dance Academy Hollywood in Los Angeles, but Dejan is not a pompous apeshit gangsta off stage.
“When (the videos) became this huge thing, I mean, I’m still in shock. I’m just like a regular person who has this dream and love for dance. To have someone stop me on the street and say they love what I do, it’s crazy. It’s absolutely crazy,” Dejan opines.
March 22nd, 2008 was the day Dejan started his YouTube channel. “From the beginning, it was something I did to submit to myself and to my agent just to have some footage to send to people. I was more excited about making a song come to life with choreography rather than creating a song. It was a calling; I’ve just been lucky to get it at a young age. This is my dream and this is my life and I’m blessed to do what I love to do,” Dejan reveals.
The crop of projects Dejan has now is a testament to his growing popularity and work ethic. Dejan and his partner, Janelle Ginestra, just choreographed for platinum-record Canadian artist Anjulie’s national tour for the next few weeks. Dejan calls it “a big deal to be working with someone of that calibre”. This is the first tour he has choreographed.
He also revealed plans for an upcoming TV show coming out “in a couple of months”. Dejan declined to reveal further details including the show’s title and series premiere date but mentioned that it would be a choreographer competition which he likened to “Project Runway for choreographers”.
Dejan has never been to Singapore and he expressed his excitement over arriving at this side of the world. “I strongly believe in this cause, so to be part of something like that to make this whole global movement is a huge honour. To be here to see a whole different world is exciting for me. I love it.”
Different it is, if you take one tweet where, in between doing classes for Danz People, he is happily enjoying Asian delicacies such as this:
ate Frog for the first time yesterday. yum :)
— Dejan Tubic (@DejanTubic) March 23, 2012
We asked him a couple more questions:
What is your song?
Missy Elliot – “Lose Control“: “I want this to be played at my funeral. I even told this to my mum: I would love for it not to be a sad funeral, but a celebration of my life”.
What’s happening to one of your protégés, Changchang?
She’s getting a movie part: “I actually got a call from a producer for a movie called Battlefield coming out really soon and she got offered a movie role to dance!”
What’s your most favourite choreography video?
We No Speak Americano: “Me, Janelle and a couple of others made up the dance in the toilet about an hour before class!”
What’s your advice to aspiring dancers?
Dream big: “If your dream is dancing and you want to be a dancer, nothing should stop you. You should do exactly what you wanna do. I had people in the beginning telling me not to post any videos online because everybody watches and they can take choreography because back in the day, that’s how people would steal choreography. I went against that and I said “No, I really don’t care. I see that as something to showcase my work”. Look where it got me. Follow your dreams and don’t do what anybody says and listen to your heart. As cliché as it sounds, it’s the absolute truth.”
Over 60 international youth delegates and 300 Singapore youth launched the ‘Live It Up Without Lighting Up’ Global Movement to get youth excited about leading a tobacco-free lifestyle. You can check out the theme song, including Martin Kong from Caracal and ShiGGa Shay, here. Follow Dejan Tubic at @iDEJance and watch his videos on his YouTube channel. Be warned, it’s badass.