Interview With Dancer Travis Lim

By Ruth on February 2, 2017 in interview, movie, television

While I have an appreciation for dance and I even did some choreography in my lifetime, competitive dance is something I know essentially nothing about. Thankfully, I happened upon the young hip hop dancer, Travis Lim, the only Canadian “Double Gold” winner to stand on the IDO podium in the 2016 Street Dance World Championship. When he agreed to chat with me recently, I had no idea just how much I would learn about competitive dance, and he was more than willing to instruct me in this novel universe!

Photo Credit: Mitchell Parsons

RH: Travis, it’s so nice to talk with you today. Where do you live?

TL: I live in Vancouver, B.C.

That’s what I thought. And you are how old now?

I’m fifteen.

How long have you been a hip hop dancer?

I think it’s my ninth year now.

Wow, you started really young then. So what got you interested in dancing?

When I was little, I always loved watching dance videos. I always had a passion for it. I would listen to different types of music, but the main inspiration for me was watching Michael Jackson. From then on, I would watch his music video “Thriller” so many times on my old computer.

My mom signed me up for classes at my school. It’s like a community program. I tried it out, but I didn’t really like it. It wasn’t the type of dance I wanted to do. My mom decided to go outside the school and find a dance program, and she found one called Freshgroove Productions, and I started taking solo classes there. I just fell in love with it. I really enjoyed it. I got put into a group, and it was a great experience.

How often do you take dance lessons now?

I dance every day.

Wow, so you’re really committed to it. Do you still go to regular school while doing all this dance?

Yeah, I still do regular school.

So does that ever become a challenge to try to keep up with school and dance?

It can. Mostly when I’m at dance practice, it’s not too hard as long as I’m not going on a trip out of town. But when I do have to go out of town, I try to get in contact with my teachers to see what I can do to keep up and prepare for when I’m gone. School’s actually pretty good about helping in that way. They’re really understanding, which is nice.

Well, that’s great. How long have you been competing as a dancer?

I’ve been competing for all of the nine years I’ve been dancing. I started as soon as they gave me my first dance routine. I think I had been dancing for about three months at that point.  I started competing right away.

Are these competitions local or out-of-town competitions or both?

My first competition was out-of-town. There are many local competitions, but I don’t compete locally that much any more. My first competition was in the States. I did pretty well there, and I actually moved on to the national competition. From there I went to Orlando and won the title of “Mr. IDC.” That was one of the first big competitions that I won. I actually got a trophy that was taller than me. I was twelve years old before I finally grew taller than it.

Are these North American competitions?

Well, I used to compete locally and also nationally. When I was seven, I competed at my first world competition. And from then on, I’ve just been competing at larger competitions every year.

Where is the farthest place you have traveled for one of these competitions?

I’ve done a few competitions in Europe and Asia. I did go to an ID Congress that wasn’t really a competition. I represented the youth of Canada while I was there. I went to Japan for that. Also for a competition called IDO Championships–my first year, I went to Germany. Second year, I went to Italy, and I actually won the popping for that and came in fourth for hip hop. Just recently I came back from Austria, and I won both hip hop and popping for the world championship freestyle.

Do you have to raise your own money to go to these competitions?

When I’m with my group, we usually do fundraising over the summer. We do car washes. We also have a bake sale every week at our studio. But when it’s independent competitions, my parents are super supportive, and they pay for everything for me, which is really nice.

How many days do competitions typically last?

This most recent one ran for four or five days. There are many categories, not just one. I competed in four of them. The solos take an entire day. The large group and small group categories happen over two or three days. In these competitions, I’m competing all day. I compete. I rest for maybe thirty minutes. Then I do my small group. Rest for thirty minutes. Do my solo. Rest for thirty minutes. So I’m basically hustling, trying to get to places, maintaining my stamina, and drinking lots of water. It gets pretty tiring.

Because you do all this dance, is there some special diet you follow to keep your energy level up?

I don’t follow a specific diet, but my mom tries to watch out for what I eat. Usually, she doesn’t want me eating too much junk food or McDonald’s. One really important part for me is definitely my sleeping patterns, especially if I’m flying to Europe or Asia. There’s a big time difference; it’s almost like twelve hours. I have to start preparing one to two weeks before so I can get used to sleeping at opposite times, so when I get there, I’m prepared to compete, and I’m not really tired throughout the day.

That is really smart! Did your mom come up with this idea. or was she advised to do it?

My mom is really good with those things. Like she helps me with my schedule. It sorta came with experience ’cause the first time, I traveled to Las Vegas for one of my main competitions, and this one lasts five days. And even then, it was really tiring having to fly. Even two hours affected us. From then on, we always try to watch out for our sleeping patterns.

So since you are still a competitive dancer, when is your next competition?

Right now, it’s kind of the off season. Our coaches are creating new routines for the next season. It’s supposed to start around March. I believe I have an audition coming up sometime this month related to the competition I won in Austria. So I’m getting ready for that. And I’m just trying to learn all the routines right now and trying to prepare.

If you continue competing as a dancer, what would be your future plans as an adult?

Once I graduate from high school, I’m not sure where I want to go to University yet, but I know for sure I want to keep on dancing. No matter where I am, I really want to pursue teaching and judging.

photo credit:  kuna Lu

Do you have plans to branch out to TV/film?

Yes, I actually have a hip hop show called Hip Hop With Travis Lim. It’s on Shaw TV. That was my main exposure on TV. It’s only been on for one season so far. Shaw TV is a bigger Canadian network that’s not available in the U.S. as far as I know.

I think TV is good for me, and I’d love to have the opportunity to do more. It is a good way to get more exposure.

Well, I hope it works out for you to do more. I think what’s great is you sound very focused, and you’re not getting involved with things you shouldn’t. And you have supportive parents. Are you an only child?

Yeah, I’m an only child. That’s why my mom can take care of me so well. {laughs} It would be pretty difficult to fly out to different states everywhere if there were like five or six of us. {laughs}

One last question. While you probably don’t have much free time, when you have downtime, what do you like to do?

One thing I really like to do is I like to play basketball. I usually wake up 6:45 every morning for basketball practice. That’s something I like to do. On free time, I like to watch NetFlix. NetFlix is a big part of my life I would say. Even if it’s just here and there, it helps me relax. Other than that, just doing homework and maybe playing video games here or there.

Photo Credit: Mitchell Parsons

At the ripe, old age of fifteen, Travis is already a world champion and traveler, and his passion for dance just pours forth from his soul. Thankfully, the vitality of youth is on his side, and he is making the most of every opportunity he is given. While he is a busy young man, there is no doubt that he finds great joy in dance, and he honestly couldn’t imagine doing anything else. In addition to his passion and drive, he is blessed to have supportive parents who have invested a great deal of time and money into this healthy obesession he has with dance. While I did not speak with them, there is no doubt that they are proud of Travis and his accomplishments. Notwithstanding, I am certain they applaud even more the fact that he is growing into a young adult who is humble, intelligent, energetic, sober, and gifted. I have no doubt that Travis will be the kind of person who constantly gives back to the community, and it emboldens my heart to see young people like Travis who are so grounded, kind, and talented. Be sure that you check out his links below in order to learn more about this world champion. I greatly anticipate what Travis will accomplish not only this year, but in the weeks, months, and years to come. I believe he is the kind of young man who can change this world for the better through the medium of dance.





YouTubeWorld of Dance LA 2014Freshh 2.0 Hip-hop international 2014 (Gold)Hip Hop with Travis Lim behind the sceneHip Hop Host Travis Lim on Shaw TV





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About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth

43-year-old single mother of an active 14-year-old girl
Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA
Entertainment Writer
Available For Interviews and Reviews
Substitute Teacher


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