Jason - From Psychology to Professional Dancer

Jason - From Psychology to Professional Dancer

#37 - Today on career Crossroads I talk to Jason Yap, a professional dancer from Malaysia who is currently living and working in Banská Bystrica, Slovakia. 

As a teenager, Jason had aspirations to become a basketball coach but realized quickly that was not a path likely to lead to success in Malaysia. As he decided to call quits on his basketball career, a new passion emerged: dance. With his athletic ability and competitive nature, he was drawn to the sport as it relied solely on his hard work and skills and not on the success of a team. Having stared at such a late age, dance wasn’t likely to be a career option when he was done high school so instead, he looked at what options would make his parents proud. After settling on psychology, Jason began a university degree while continuing to dance on the side. 

Upon graduating, Jason had a choice to make. Should he continue down the path to become a clinical psychologist? Or should he work towards a career as a performer where he had a 95% chance of being unemployed after going back to school for a dance program?  Jason just couldn't shake the feeling that dance was where he belonged, and during a heart-to-heart with his parents, he explained that he just needed to know if he could make it as a professional dancer. Jason's parents were supportive and told him to pursue his dream.

After obtaining a scholarship to the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, off Jason went for another round of post-secondary education. Now, two years after graduating, Jason is a performing dancer for Divadlo Studio Tanca in Slovakia. 

During his interview Jason tells me about his journey to overcome imposter syndrome, the value of mentorship, and why he decided to pursue his passion after picking up dance at a later age than most.

You can find Jason in the following locations:

Instagram: @jasonliel

LinkedIn: Jason Yap

Personal Website: Artist Website

Podcast: The Background Dancer

Dance Company: Divadlo Studio Tanca

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The below transcript is A.I generated with light editing and may not be 100% accurate.