Interview by Chris Duncan
In our vibrant world, Seth Collier stands out as a rising star. At just 19, Collier, affectionately known as Seth, has already carved a notable path in the dance industry. Having honed his skills at Australia’s prestigious Dynamite Studios, he’s not only mastered the rigor of full-time dance but has also been juggling successful job bookings and winning international accolades.
Now, with an exciting position at USA’s renowned MSA agency on the horizon, Seth’s journey is a testament to his indomitable spirit. Raised in the rural heartlands of Australia, Seth’s story is not of a typical bush-to-ballet narrative. Instead, it’s a tale of breaking barriers and transcending the expectations of a farming family background. In an exclusive interview with Chris Duncan, Seth opens up about his relentless pursuit of artistic excellence and the dreams he’s determined to realize.
Your dance film ‘River’ has had international success. Can you tell us about this?
After choreographing, dancing, directing & producing ‘RIVER’, I submitted it to the ‘Inspired International Dance Film Festival’. I won ‘Best of the Fest’ in the youth category going up against films from all around the world like China, the UK & USA. I was also the only under 18 Australian to ever be selected in the adult section of the film festival which was crazy to me. Being selected for the adult showcase meant my film was showcased alongside names such as Emmy award winner Derek Houghs film.
After its festival success, it was recently shown to US singer P!nk. In a sit down interview with the mega pop star, she watched and reacted saying “Wow. A lot went into this. Come on Seth! That was a lot of work! That was beautiful. Well done”. She was my first concert when I was five & is my favourite singer in the whole world so this made all the hours of work absolutely worth it!
What has been your favourite dance performance thus far?
This is a hard question as I’ve had so many memorable performances, but recently I performed at the ‘World standards event’ at the Brisbane City Hall as the lead contemporary dancer. It was a super fun evening entertaining over 800 experts worldwide who develop the voluntary technical agreements that are published as International Standards.
Another recent job was lead dancing commercial jazz for the world renowned company ‘Redbull’. The event was at a mega club in Brisbane & over 1000 guests were in attendance so it was crazy but a lot of fun!
What made you decide to pursue a career in dance in the U.S.?
In my last trip to Los Angeles I met the owners of McDonald Selznick Associates and they had me send in an audition. I was successful in the audition so I am now going to LA to fulfil my upcoming role as a dancer for MSA agency and I couldn’t be more grateful & thrilled!
Also having credits of lead dancer/choreographer in a lot of the performance opportunities that Australia has to offer, it has made me want to venture out & pursue my career further in LA. Meeting LA choreographers like Misha Gabriel & Dexter Carr was very insightful and makes me excited about contributing to the dance culture in the US which is already booming.
What do you hope to bring that is unique to your performances in the U.S.?
I think us Aussies, we are known for our work ethic and endurance. Performing for a long period of time is a skill that is always of upmost importance. I think being able to bring valuable knowledge from my time working in Australia to LA will be transformative and beneficial in the learning of young dancers. From a mentoring perspective, my experience on the field as a lead dancer that must carry the performance is valuable information I’m excited about passing onto other creatives in the US. I also believe the art I create is unique and something abstract that hasn’t been seen before and I’m excited to expand on it.
What do you think you will gain from performing in the U.S.?
I think the foundation of creativity and art I have planted for myself can only be expanded and flourish even more by working in the US. I’ve already been able to meet & converse ideas between so many amazing creatives in LA and I think being able to do this for more than a few months would be a game changer.
When did you first develop an interest in dance?
From a young age I have been acting for film and theatre. So when I reached my teenage years and I was old enough to enter the musical theatre scene, I auditioned and was super lucky to land lead roles like Moonface Martin in Anything Goes & Boq in Wicked. My first lead musical theatre role was the scarecrow in The Wiz. I was only 14 so I was the youngest talent the company had ever had in a lead role & obviously musicals are acting, dancing & singing so it was a lot of pressure. But I fell in love with the rehearsing and the high intensity training instantly. From then onwards I kept up my dance training and went on to pursue it professionally.
What has been the most rewarding part of pursuing a career in dance?
For me the rewarding part is the feeling I get on stage after putting in hours of work into something that I now get to share with the world. Being able to push myself everyday to be better at something has also been rewarding for my physical & mental health.
Just like most art, dance makes an audience feel something so it’s awesome to be the one that the art is presented through.
What sets your style of dance apart from other performers?
For me, stylising my movement in dance is just as important as stylising myself. I think to set yourself apart from other performers, you need to be whatever version of yourself you want in many aspects, not just your style of dance. Wether it be what you choose to wear or character building to suit the dance. I’d say what sets my style of dance apart from others is my musicality and my ability to be present with myself and choose what kind of dancer I want to be that day. Of course my training leads to me producing the same movement quality. But my mindset and character building for each performance is what truly shapes the show and allows me to swap up what kind of dancer I need to be for that specific job. It’s also more fun & creative that way!