A Leap of Faith with AJ Amos
AJ Amos couldn’t get out of his car. He had set out to audition for Dia Clones, a dance crew from the University of Arizona, but he was having second thoughts. Growing up with health issues, he had taken up cross country and volleyball to help his lungs. However, he was much less active as a premed student, so when his friend invited him to audition, he felt as if he had nothing to lose.
Still, Amos had never danced before, not like this. And with every passing minute, he watched seasoned dancers walk into auditions, cool and confident in their Dia Clones branded wear. The sight of them made him put his car in drive.
But before he could pull out of the parking lot and go home, a small feeling in his stomach said: If you don’t do this now, you’ll regret it.
So he stayed.
“I ended up making the team and became more hungry for this new world,” Amos says. His life so far had been a set path, but something about dance encouraged him to forge his own.
“I realized I can do whatever I want,” he says. “There are no boundaries.”
a state of change
It was the start of a new era, one of change after change. He moved back to Gilbert, switched from pre-med to business and became a market analyst. All the while, he kept dancing—with Dia Clones, Broken Toyz Crew, Jukebox Fam, and anyone who loves dance as much as he does. Since then he’s spent around seven years dancing and teaching at Jukebox and other studios.
“That’s how I found my love for teaching,” Amos says.
It took constant communication and consistency for his loved ones to accept his decisions. There’s fear in the unknown, so he took it upon himself to show them that his life can still be fulfilling and sustainable without sacrificing his passions.
“I can still do all these things and dance,” he says.
Amos and his family are part of the Church of Christ, and though he says he’s not the highest in faith, Amos has led Jukebox Fam in prayer during competitions for the past few years. He prays to God, but he makes it clear that it’s meant to be inclusive.
“We believe in different things—we honor that,” he says. Whether you pray to Jesus, the Creator, the Universe or simply yourself, there is space for you. During these prayers, Amos says he allows God to speak through him.
It’s known that he puts faith above dance, yet the two don’t feel as disconnected as they seem. Often, it’s a liminal space where the physical meets the spiritual. “Dance is a way to speak, to communicate,” Amos says. “Some people can’t talk in words.” And it’s these indescribable, wordless feelings that are the ones worth listening to.
“DANCE IS A WAY TO SPEAK, TO COMMUNICATE,” AMOS SAYS. “SOME PEOPLE CAN’T TALK IN WORDS.”
A couple years ago, he was faced with a drastic decision that required him to uproot his life and leave it all behind. “I was 99% sure I was gonna go,” he says, but there was a deep sinking feeling that told him that it wasn’t his time yet.
According to Amos, he paid no mind to his intuition before—when you’re on a set, safe path your entire life, you don’t have to. The key, it seemed, was a touch of risk.
“Until I started dancing,” Amos says, “there was no risk.” As he moved towards the unknown, he leaned on his intuition, especially when reckoning with large decisions. “It’s addicting, lowkey,” he says. “You learn about yourself in a nonquantifiable way.”
During the time of this interview, Amos had broken some major news: After years of growing up, working and dancing in Arizona, he was to start a new chapter as a teacher in Thailand.
As he recalls, the timing was almost like fate. Simply trying to learn Thai recipes led to him picking up the language and falling in love with the culture. Once an opening to teach in Thailand came up, he didn’t hesitate.
Amos had announced this on Instagram with a photo of himself holding the last piece of paperwork necessary for his new life. He’ll be teaching math and English to seventh and eighth graders and plans to be a student again himself by attending dance classes at local studios. His flight was only weeks away, and, true to his nature, he had yet to pack a single thing.
A FEW WEEKS LATER
After safely traveling to Thailand, Amos updated friends and family about his time in quarantine through social media.
He’s blogged about long layovers, quarantine meals and expressed his homesickness for the space of an open studio (he’d hit his bedside table multiple times freestyling) but that’s all growing pains. His adventure had just begun.
“Just go for it,” he had said during the interview. “Don’t talk yourself out of it, because whatever it is, it sticks in your heart and mind.”
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