In this series, TalentEgg will be exploring the lives of young professionals who have gone off the beaten career path to find success. From artists to entrepreneurs, their stories illustrate the importance of pursuing your passion.
Dance is what Bo does, but in many ways, it’s also who she is.
The art form has been a constant in her life, from when she was a little girl twirling around her house on Vancouver Island, to now – working as a professional dancer and choreographer in Toronto, Ontario.
“It’s so cheesy, but I’ve literally never wanted to do anything else,” says Bo.
After high school, Bo moved to Toronto to study Dance at Ryerson University and work in the field professionally, but she faced some speed bumps along the way. The dance world can be very competitive and under the pressure, even the best performers can start to question their abilities.
By the end of her studies, Bo almost considered going down a different path: acting. She was taking on-camera lessons and was in talks with an agent when she had a revelation.
“You realize how much of [the self-doubt] is in your head,” says Bo. “If you decide that you’re not good enough and you’re never going to be good enough, then you won’t be.”
From that point onward, Bo fully committed herself to pursuing a career in dance. She made a resolution to take every opportunity that came her way and some pretty amazing gigs followed suit, including performing in the Toronto Fringe Festival, joining the Toronto Raptors Dance Pak, closing the 2013 MuchMusic Video Awards (MMVAs) with PSY, and opening the 2014 MMVAs with Hedley.
“If you just keep going, and working towards that goal you’ve been visualizing, things will fall into place.” – Bo Lam
All of these experiences and more eventually led Bo to one of her biggest career successes to date: creating a full-length show entitled “Memento Mori” with her collective at the time, Miscellum Dance. It was a labour of love for Bo – who was a dancer, choreographer, director and producer for the project – but the thought of achieving her goal kept her motivated.
“Every day, I would wake up and look in the bathroom mirror and picture myself standing on stage, thanking the audience and imagining what it would feel like to have that show under my belt,” says Bo. “That clear visualization was everything.”
That first show was only the beginning for Bo, who has continued to rack up performance credits to her name, most recently as a member of the Toronto Raptors Dance Pak once again. She also works as a dance competition adjudicator, model, and is the communications director for Toronto-based fitness studio Barreworks.
“Anybody can dance – you just have to find what resonates with you.” – Bo Lam
The life of a professional dancer is anything but straightforward and Bo is a clear example of that. Even with several years of professional dance experience under her belt, she says she still has moments of hesitation about her career choice. However, unlike when she first began, she now has the confidence to believe in herself and her abilities.
“You have to trust your instincts,” says Bo. “If things don’t feel right, if you don’t wake up in the morning thinking ‘today’s going to be a great day because I get to do this,’ then something needs to change.”
She continues: “To me, dancing is body language but magnified. When I’m immersed in it and I’m working and performing and creating and dancing – nothing compares to that.”
Bo’s career advice:
- Know your strengths. Every type of career comes with its own set of challenges. “But if you know that you’re capable of doing what you set out to do and you’re able to trust in that, you will pull yourself through,” says Bo.
- Find your support system. Nobody can do everything on their own. “Know who you have in your life who can fill in those blanks and support you where you need it,” says Bo.