To London to Dance: Tim Chew

Tim Chew, a Sri Hartamas boy, is now wowing dance audiences around Europe. Watch out for him in the upcoming Keanu Reeves movie 47 Ronin.

He’s also my little cousin and the family couldn’t be more proud! You read about him first here, on Outstation.

Name: Tim C J Chew

Age: 26

Hometown: Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur

Current city: London, England

No. of years abroad: 8+

What do you do for a living?

I have been extremely privileged to have had the opportunity to work as a freelance dancer in London for the past 2 years, undertaking various performance jobs in contemporary dance and some commercial work – with the likes of Pet Shop Boys alongside Lady Gaga (with fellow Malaysian, Samantha Tan) and Keanu Reeves in the upcoming Universal film 47 Ronin.

With a predominantly science based educational background, it felt necessary for me to extend my dance training further.

Thus, I am currently studying for my Masters in Dance Performance in a postgraduate contemporary dance company called EDge at London Contemporary Dance School. The company accepts 12 dancers every year from over 200 auditionees from all corners of the globe, and I am the only non-British/European/American dancer this year.

We are currently halfway through our 4 months tour, performing to audiences all over England, as well as Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Austria and Portugal.

What do you like about living in London?

Meeting people from a vast array of backgrounds in one of the most exciting cosmopolitan cities in the world, being constantly nourished with the art and music culture, finding pubs in every corner, satisfying a craving for any cuisine imaginable; the rest of Europe being a mere hour or so away and most of all, living in a society whereby everyone can seek a place in the city where they can find the security and comfort in being themselves regardless of their nationality, race, sexuality or even donning ridiculous outfits.

What do you not like?

How busy the city gets during holiday periods, the overcrowded tube trains, how expensive the city can be and of course, the lack of sun.

What do you miss about Malaysia?

My family and the local food!

What do you not miss about Malaysia?

The humidity, the censorship and the pressure of constantly having to conform to expectations and the social norm – perhaps this is just a personal take.

Would you move back to Malaysia? Why?

Not in the near future. It would almost be ‘career suicide’ for me. I feel the need to absorb as much as I can for the time being, from the opportunities that lie in the western world in terms of contemporary dance. Furthermore, it has taken me many years to build a solid social and independent life here in London and I am yet to be able to even consider giving that up.


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