It has taken six years, but dancer-turned-singer-turned-actor Michael Tse Tin-wah has finally stepped out of the shadows of his partners to forge an identity of his own. With Jordan Chan Siu-chun and Jason Chu Wing-tong, he used to be a regular dancer on the concert stages of top Canto-pop singers such as Alan Tam Wing-lun, Anita Mui Yim-fong and Sandy Lam Yik-lin. One day, choreographer and image director Clarence Hui Yuen suggested they form a trio of singing, dancing young men, to rival Grasshopper. 'I loved dancing when I was a teenager. That's all in my head. But I had no idea how my career would go if Hui hadn't come to me. ' said the 31-year-old. 'Maybe I'd dance for a few more years and then find another job, but I really didn't know what I'd become.' And so in 1992, he became 'Sea' of Wind Fire Sea. The group did not last long though - after two years, they took separate paths to pursue their own interests. 'I wasn't dispirited when Wind Fire Sea broke up. I saw it as an opportunity for me to sort things out. I had to get on with my life. I didn't think I was unfortunate. 'Unexpected things come up all the time and one should always be ready to change. I don't believe in long-term plans and I never think too far. 'Nor would I look back in anger. We promised not to intervene if anyone of us wanted to leave the group for good,' he said. But it was Jordan Chan who first struck out on his own with a leading role in the film Twentysomething. Chan was soon torn between movies and singing, while the other two became tired of waiting for him to promote their album. And so, Wind Fire Sea began to fall apart. 'I take things as they come. If the job is not yours, it's not yours.' Tse explained. 'Jordan has a quality of his own. The director must have millions of good reasons to hire him instead of me. I was not jealous at all. 'I won't force myself to do something I'm not ready for. The audience has expectations. In showbiz, you need to give out a lot more than a good-looking face.' Being the second-youngest in a big family may have helped Tse develop a relaxed attitude towards his career. He worries little about money because there are nine of them to share the financial burden. Tse thinks he is lucky to be able to do what he wants. His family did not give him any pressure when he decided to join the TVB dancers' training class when he was only 17. But he never considered himself suitable for acting. 'When I was in secondary school, I took part in some amateur drama productions and I felt, that's not my thing,' he said. 'But now, the more I'm in touch with it, the more I find it challenging.' Over the past four years, he has appeared in 18 movies, including the four Young and Dangerous films and this summer's big hit, The Storm Riders. He found his interest in that field slowly overtaking his love for dancing and singing. Today, he ranks acting as his first love and singing second. 'I know my acting is still not good enough, so I'm eager to improve myself by trying out different roles.' More people have become familiar with Tse's name since he joined TVB last year. A lot of movie actors turn to television work because it helps to maintain their profile, especially with overseas Chinese viewers. Also, television work usually takes up a lot of time and it allows more training for them. Tse played a heartless lover in his first soap series, As Sure As Fate, which was shown two months ago. The programme has received good ratings, and Tse does not seem worried about his image. 'Hong Kong audiences forget easily. For once, they recognised me as Tai Tin-yee in Young and Dangerous. But for now, they may recognise me as the gentle Chun Sheung in The Storm Riders. 'I don't care if the character I play is a hero or a villain,' he said. 'The most important thing is I value the chance and I do my best. If my performance as a bad guy disgusted the audience, it means I succeed.' Tse said he refused to be confined by his boy-next-door image. 'It dawned on me that if you don't show yourself, how will you know what you can do? I believe everything is worth a try.' His philosophy worked once again when he grabbed the chance and auditioned for Jacky Cheung Hok-yau's musical extravaganza Snow.Wolf.Lake last year. It was an honour to be chosen from hundreds of applicants for the multi-million-dollar production. He put on an awe-inspiring performance as the rival to Cheung. The role originally belonged to Tam Yiu-man, a former winner of TVB's New Talent Singing Contest, and some questioned if Tse could handle the singing part. 'I couldn't sleep that night when I knew I got the role,' he said. 'I understand I don't have a gifted voice. So during that time, I worked very hard to practise singing. 'There was pressure, of course, because I hadn't been in a musical before. So I kept telling myself I ought to give it a try. The chance was too precious to let go.' Having spent three months with top singers such as Cheung, Sandy Lam Yik-lin and Kit Chan kit-yee, he found the whole process a stimulating learning experience. 'I was glad that they gave me a lot of comments to help me improve. It made me realise the show was not a competition. There was no need to outsmart yourself. It's about learning to work as a team.' Tse has sung in many movie soundtracks before and after the musical, it seems a natural step to re-start his singing career. But the actor believes otherwise. 'I think I'm not ready to be a solo singer. I simply don't want to put on some nice clothes and fool the audience, or worse, to fool myself. I need to gain more recognition before going any further. That's a very important thing in the Canto-pop industry.' The past six years have taught Tse a lot in a business that is fickle and uncertain. One should be careful not to expect too much, he feels. But having said that, Tse is optimistic about his future. He seems to be tied up for the rest of the year. 'I won't regard Snow.Wolf.Lake as a peak in my career. I don't want to get stuck in beautiful memories. Let bygones be bygones. I aim to keep going,' he said. 'I always look forward to conquering challenge after challenge. But I'm not in a rush. Right now, my focus is on acting. 'For a man, his life begins at 30,' he smiled. 'I'm undergoing a series of metamorphoses. 'I don't want to be typecast as a certain role. I believe, people will eventually forget that I used to be in Wind Fire Sea.'