Talent Collides: UNDRGRND 2017
UNDRGRND 2017 | Melbourne's Hottest Night of Dance
It's not often the formula for dance showcases gets shaken up, but it's undeniably apparent that UNDRGRND is a true exception, and this year's event was a jaw-dropping, feet-stomping, adrenaline-filled night of dance, surreal enough to rival any Step Up movie. The event - which began as a labour of love for Choreographer/Director/Producer Paul Malek and Chris Curran 6 years ago - is a high-octane dance spectacle featuring the brightest and boldest of Australia's up and coming choreographers, dancers and performers in a venue where audiences are encouraged to move to the beat just as much as the dancers on-stage. UNDRGRND is both a party and a performance, and equal parts crowd-pleaser and industry event, making it a unique opportunity for Australian dancers to showcase their talents in everything from broadway and ballroom, to hip-hop, tap, contemporary and even belly dancing in a non-competitive arena. This year's event was held at TRAK nightclub in Toorak and marked a new chapter for UNDRGRND as Paul Malek and Chris Curran, the original Producers, stepped aside for dancer and choreographer Jayden Hicks to take over the role.
"I was absolutely thrilled with how the night turned out! It was amazing to see so many people from the Melbourne dance community supporting each other. It just goes to prove what Melbourne has to offer, encouragement of artists from all styles and experience levels, you don't get that everywhere. UNDRGRND is a truly special event and I plan to keep it running in Melbourne!"
~ UNDRGRND Producer and Dancer Jayden Hicks
A packed out venue and exhilirating atmosphere were further confirmation that Malek, Curran and Hicks have got the recipe just right with UNDRGRND, which feels incredibly interactive compared to typical performances, and it's nothing short of remarkable to have such a diverse group of performers and choreographers, DJs, hosts and industry leaders all rolled into one fast-paced night out with friends - at a nightclub no less. The event kicked off at 9pm on a Friday night with people lining up down the street well in advance to catch the opening number - a powerhouse performance by musical theatre star Jaz Flowers (choreographed by Yvette Lee) that got the crowd roaring and set the tone for the 30+ incredible acts to follow. Hicks didn't just drive the night from back-stage either, he later stole the spotlight with fellow Transit Dance Company member Lachlan Hall, performing an emotional duet choreographed by Paul Malek that caused the audience to fall silent for the first time all evening. The fantastic calibre of dancers and choreography being presented continued well into the night, with UNDRGRND finally wrapping up in the early hours of the following morning.
With Melbourne's commercial dance scene only getting bigger, UNDRGRND's future as one of Australia's most exciting industry events looks spectacularly bright, and we're looking forward to watching the event continue to grow and evolve, creating incredible experiences for performers and audiences alike.
As for the immediate future, Australia's biggest dance party may have come to an end for the year... but we're already already looking forward to the 2018 line-up, and we hope to see you there!
Proudly sponsored by Energetiks
Hosted by Paul Malek, Sid Mathur & James Elmer
Producer: Jayden Hicks
Executive Producers: Chris Curran and Paul Malek
Paul Malek, Kim Adam, Michael Ralph, Boss Dance Company, Billie Casey Jabore, Brodie Chesher, Adelaide Clark, Daniel Jaber, Provokative, Martijn Sedgfield, Freya List, Sian Kelly, Jordan Charles Herbert, Jayden Wall, Jonathan Homsey, Tenacity DC, Indefinite Dance Company, Lowell Demetita and Keenan Ratahi,Peter Koh, Jordan Tierney, JAM, Sheridan Anderson, Devon Campbell, Charlotte Tooke, Chantelle Mccaskill, Two of a Kind, Will TK, Scimm Dance Company, Vanessa Northcott, Jye Hayman, Adrien Tucker, WACC Dance Crew, Caspian Scahill, Footnotes, Lion Heart Dance Company, Bugsy Wilson, Dedicate, Egson Ham, Xai
Article and photography by Elly Ford.