UNDRGRND goes National

Paul Malek - UNDRGRND
Paul Malek – UNDRGRND

UNDRGRND – It’s a dance party, performance, industry event, and a great night out. Brainchild of dance choreography and entrepreneur Paul Malek, UNDRGRND has been running for a couple of years in Melbourne as a platform for dancers and choreographers to showcase their work.

The uniqueness of the concept is that it is not held in a traditional dance performance held theatrical venue, but mixes club culture within the nightclub scene. There are also high profile DJ’s and singers, and the dancers are not waiting backstage, but are mingling as part of the audience, creating a social environment. What started as a dance community event quickly turned into an eclectic party for all where everyone gets their dance booty on. Riding on the success of the quarter yearly event, Malek is now touring UNDRGRND nationally, and will be coming to Brisbane on August 8.

Aussie Theatre reporter Bobbi-Lea Dionysius, spoke with Paul, former choreographer for So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing with the Stars, Disney, and Crown, just ahead of his tour to Brisvegas, and got the low-down on Undergrnd.

When asked about how Underground came about, Paul said, “It started in Melbourne as a dance industry night as a way for people to get their work out there on a public scale – working and networking. There is a big market for choreography performance platforms that is non-competitive.

With fifty applicants and over thirty acts, Paul found, “there was all this ‘underground’ talent in the dance community but not a lot of opportunities for choreographers or dancers to showcase and network”. He added, “There’s The Carnival Choreographer’s Ball in Sydney once a year, and then there’s your sister’s [or insert other family member], end of year dance recital that goes for three hours”.

Paul is passionate about raising the profile of dance as a universal art form, “Dance isn’t out there enough, yet everyone loves to dance”. TV shows like So You Think You Can Dance have done a lot to raise the bar, and our perception as an audience, of what dance can be. Paul’s aim is to carry that through with UNDRGRND events in every state, “It’s not all pink tights and tutus”.

When asked about the dance scene in Brisbane, Paul commented positively, “Brisbane has some of the best dancers who are going to Sydney and Melbourne to study, but it’s about to explode in an artistic way”.

The UNDRGRND dance event will start its tour in Melbourne on August 2 before coming to Brisbane on August 8 at The Hi-Fi in West End, and finish up in Sydney on August 16. For more information, go to the UNDRGRND website: undrgrnddance.com.

Bobbi-Lea Dionysius

Bobbi-Lea is AussieTheatre.com's QLD Co-ordinator, writer, reviewer, and reporter. She is also an actor, presenter, and theatre/film producer for Drama Queen Productions in Brisbane. Bobbi-Lea holds a Degree in Music Theatre as well as a Degree in Film & TV, and is currently doing her Masters in Screen Production.

Bobbi-Lea Dionysius

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