Ivan Koh

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Age: 24
Occupation: Professional Ballet Dancer
Instagram: @ivansmorgan

As a guy who does ballet for a living (he’s currently with the Singapore Dance Theatre or SDT), Ivan is used to answering all sorts of questions about how and why he got into it professionally. Here are some things to know about him.

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Checkered trench coat, $139; denim jacket, $89.90; both Urban Revivo.

He’s been dancing for a looong time  

Ivan started dancing when he was five and auditioned for School of the Arts Singapore when he was 12. He studied ballet and contemporary dance there for five years before moving to New Zealand to pursue a diploma in dance performance. He then returned to Singapore to serve his National Service and, upon completing it, joined SDT as a full-time dancer. Yup, he’s pretty much been dancing non-stop.

He didn’t set out to practise ballet professionally

“I knew I wanted to dance, but to be a full-time ballet dancer, I wasn’t as sure,” says Ivan. “But my teachers asked me what sort of dance career I wanted to pursue when I was 16 and told me they saw potential in me [to be a professional ballet dancer]. They guided me into full-time training and I got better at ballet. So I was like, ‘Why not?’” He currently performs six times a year at SDT.

 

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He’s artistic in many other different ways  

Ivan comes from an artistically-inclined family—his dad was a carpenter and his mum, an art and craft teacher. So it probably isn’t so surprising that he also makes music on the side; jazz music, to be precise. “I played the euphonium in the school band and also the flute,” he says. “I like the sound I was hearing in certain music and wanted to create that.” Because of his dad’s influence, Ivan also knows how to build furniture.

It doesn’t bother him if people think his profession is weird

“Almost everyone I’ve met think my profession is cool or interesting,” he says. “I wouldn’t be affected if someone were to judge me for being a male ballet dancer—I’m just doing my part for Singapore’s arts scene.” Ivan adds that he’s the sort who’s always on the move and won’t ever be able to hold a desk job. “I found sitting through a lecture during National Service physically painful,” he quips.

 

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His choice of clothing? Vintage silk shirts

Ivan is a bit of an old soul and is a fan of thrift shopping and vintage silk shirts. “The prints are unique and expressive,” he explains. But that doesn’t mean you won’t find him in a T-shirt, though (“T-shirts are more comfortable, for sure.”).

You’re likely to spot him riding his e-scooter around town  

Ivan first got his e-scooter two years ago and currently scoots to work (and to most places) every day. “It’s really convenient to get around town with it.” When he isn’t training or riding around on his scooter, he can be found reading a book at a park or by a body of water. “One of my favourite places to do that is Boat Quay.”

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