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BACKSTAGE with Paul Malek

How old were you when you started dancing?

"I was technically 4 years old, although I often say I began in the womb as my mother was a dance teacher and definitely was dancing up a storm with me in her belly." 

Tell us about your training. Where, who with, what styles etc?

"I began dancing in Morwell at a dance studio called KJ Dance Studios, and did mainly ballet, Jazz and Tap. Then when I was 12 I moved to Melbourne to study at the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School where I specialised mainly in Classical Ballet and Contemporary Dance." 

What was your first professional job?

"Funny enough, I was a back up dancer in a film clip. The artist never really took off, but on a side note, I had a shaved head and the little hair I had was died red and I wore a blue bandana. Living for life." 

What has been a favourite on stage or professional moment?

"This is a pretty difficult one as each moment in my life has differed greatly with many amazing experiences all in completely different circumstances. I think the aftermath from my SYTYCD season 4 routine with Zoe and Sam, about the mother who lost their child resonates greatly still. The amount of people who reach out to me to tell me their stories and how the piece affected them still continues to this day. So to be able to make an impact in a 1.5 minute timeframe that has such a resounding continuation of memory and emotion is pretty special." 

What do you wish you had known as a young dancer that you know now as a professional, or what advice to can you give to young dancers in training?

"This is simple, YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE LIKE THE PERSON STANDING NEXT TO YOU TO MAKE YOUR MARK ON THIS WORLD. We all have a unique gift to offer, and the quicker we find our uniqueness, the greater our impact will be." 

What advice would you give to dancers who want to become professional?

"Persistence, Resilience, Endeavour and Passion. Be prepared in every circumstance, and never lose sight of what makes you special, talent is not what creates longevity, you do. So make every moment count, dedicate everything to what you love, and in time becoming a 'Professional' will be a by product of the success life holds." 

What does 2019 hold for you?

"An abundance of sharing the passion that we all love, dance, dance and more dance. As far as time allows me."  Paul was a choreographic regular on So You Think You Can Dance Australia and Dancing with the Stars, and has been the choreographic brains of well over a hundred corporate events, award ceremonies, television commercials, music videos and dance festivals over the last decade. Paul is the Founder and Artistic Director of Victoria's famous Transit Dance, and his class is not to be missed at VDF 2019.


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