David McLean grew up in a country town in NSW. His mum danced, and taught him and his brother Rob from a young age. When his family moved to Canberra, Dave signed up at a dance studio to take one hip hop class a week, which he continued to do for years. After starting to take classes on a more professional level, he went to LA to train with the RichBoyz Project, and realised that a career in dance might actually be possible. When Marko called him to be a part of the Dream Dance Company’s debut show, Genesis, it opened up a new chapter in Dave’s dance life. You might remember Dave as a collaborator on the Linkd Collection with his partner, Cat Santos.
What has your experience with Dream Dance Co been like?
Genesis was the kind of the transition for me to come to Sydney, and it was really the turning point for my career. At that stage I knew I would love to dance as a career and that it was possible but I just didn’t know how to make it happen. Being invited to do the Dream was a new avenue for me. And from there I’ve been training, I’ve been going to Japan every couple of years with some friends to train and teach there, and I just try and do as much as I can with the time that I have. After Genesis I worked with Dream Dance Co on Secret Society and Untold, so GODDESS is my fourth show with the company.
This is your first Dream Dance Co experience without your brother Rob and partner Cat Santos in the cast. How is that for you?
When Dream Dance Company did Vortex with Sarah Boulter, Rob, Lucy (Doherty, Rob’s partner) and Cat were a part of that and I wasn’t, so I was on the other side of it, and it was a good learning curve. I think now without Cat here, it’ll be nice for me to experience this on my own, and I know that she’s still there supporting me no matter what, and she’s excited for me. And I think it’s good for me to be around other people that I’m not normally around as well.
What are you excited for in terms of working with Caetlyn Watson and this cast?
I’ve know Caetlyn for so many years now, and I’ve gotten to dance with her on and off. I think I’m most looking forward to a new experience, and not knowing what could happen as well, especially with the cast. It’s such a unique cast, with so many people from different backgrounds. We’re all just so different. I’m also looking forward to training in a more consistent way, for at least the period of the show.
What do you love about working with Marko?
He’s just awesome. He knows what he wants, he sets it out and he’s not afraid to go for it. He is also so easy to work with and understanding. I think that’s hard to find, because this industry is so wild and it’s easy to get a bit overwhelmed. It’s really good that even though he has so much going on he still has the time to understand you and your needs and he’s very respectful of that. He’s a great boss, but he’s also a good friend.
How would you describe your dance style?
I’d say it’s more hip hop based. I guess I try and bring a strong, powerful element to it, but I also try to keep the softness that is myself as well. I’m not a very intense person, so even though sometimes with dance you have a certain character that you put on, I try and keep everything that I am and then add things on top. I fuse together everything I’ve learnt, and I like to experiment with movement. So I think my style is really just experimental.
Finally, what advice do you have for aspiring dancers?
Just enjoy what you’re doing and try not to be too hard on yourself. It’s easier said than done, we all go through it, but understand that this career comes with ups and downs and it’s easy to get caught up in the hype of everything and how amazing everything may look. It is fun if you’re willing to learn and grow through that, and I think it’s an awesome thing to be a part of this industry which can take you to so many different places. Have fun with what you’re doing, and the moment you feel like you’re not enjoying it just reset and think about why you started.