HTW | Rob McLean


A passionate performer on the rise

Versatile dancer Rob McLean is more than grateful he gets to dance for a living along with the many opportunities that have come his way through dance, but he is now relishing the chance to nurture the next generation of dancers as a teacher and choreographer. When not on stage or in the studio, Rob is more than happy to hang out with friends and seek out the best coffee spots. 
Find out what qualities Rob values as a dancer and what influences him most in life.
Q: What was 2016 like for you in the industry?
It was busy! I feel like a lot happened last year from start to finish… that I kind of forgot by the end of the year that those things had happened at the start of the year. For me personally, a lot of my work was teaching and giving back, so I kind of felt like 2016 just took a lot of energy from me… but in a great way!
Q: What would you say is your strongest personal quality and how does that enhance you as a performer?
I think my strongest personal quality would be my honesty, not only as a teacher but as a performer as well. I think I spoke about this a lot in 2016 as well, throughout classes or throughout dance, and it was something that I focused on a lot. Honesty is something that is necessary as a performer or a teacher for guidance, but also for someone sitting in the audience watching … if you’re not watching someone perform honestly or expressing how they are truly feeling on stage then I think it can be seen through. The performance won’t have the effect that it’s meant to and it’s not as powerful if it’s not honest.
I think honesty is the strongest thing to express and I really worked at that last year… I do pride myself on that when I go out on stage or teach a class… that I’m doing it from an honest place and therefore, I’m caring.
Q: What advice would you give your younger-self?
To believe in yourself and to not fear change… not to fear anything! It’s such a hard thing because there are always so many aspects that come into play and stop you from doing this, or make you think that you can’t do that. It’s ok to just believe in yourself and have a go… and then also accept time off or when things are getting difficult that you can turn around and you can look at things in a different way. I guess overall, I would just say believing in yourself, don’t give into fear, and acceptance of change and what is to come.
Q: Who do you find is the most influential person in your life and why or how?
Well I have a list of dance inspirations in terms of style, personality, even music that influences me a lot. But I think what influences me in life is the best reflection that comes out through my dance. I would say my partner Lucy… I feel like she is there for me honestly no matter what. So whether it’s something that I want to hear or whether it’s just something that I need to hear she is the person that really gives me that. Also my father, I often have conversations with him on the phone or even when we just catch up that I just never speak to anyone in that same manner and those conversations seem to drive whatever happens next in my career or just next in my life. Then it kind of gets to the next point where I need another dose of that conversation and then we go back and we figure more things out and then it changes again what I’m doing or what I’m sharing.
So I think the conversations with my family and my partner Lucy… but also my brother Dave dances and we share that stuff together often… just being able to share what we love as individuals as something together is a really special and driving factor in everything I do.
Q: What do you like to get up to when you’re not working?
I like to chill out and be around the beach a lot. I’m lying in the sun in a hammock right now! I like watching a bit of sports when that’s on or having a beer with my bro or some mates at the beach. And Coffee! … I love going to new cafes and finding new coffee spots. I also love taking photos and just playing around with my camera. When I don’t dance, I really like to ‘not’ dance… I like to switch off and do some normal life activities to balance it out. It’s needed.
Q: What can DanceLife Australia readers expect to see from you during 2017?
As a performer I’m in the next Dream Dance Company show ‘Enter the Vortex’ choreographed by Sarah Boulter. It has a lot more tour dates than any previous shows so it’s a lot more stage experience for me … and it’s a contemporary show so I think I’m going back to what I used to do a bit more of which will be really nice.
Personally, something what I want to do more of is teaching … I really love teaching! I want to share with people and for me that class environment is when I feel most passionate about dance … when I’m standing in front of a room and teaching, So I really want to build my teaching to another level. I’ve worked really hard for a long time and under some great influences to I guess I pride myself on being a good teacher because I think it’s so necessary.
I think nowadays people take teaching for granted… either for money or for the exposure, but I think it is a way of building the next generation of dancers as well as connecting with people across the planet. So I actually want to be able to take my dance, not only around Australia, but further overseas too. So I guess I’m just thinking about the possibilities of that and how I can achieve it.
Q: Any final words of wisdom for our readers?
Everyone chooses dance for their own reason. Firstly, I think for people to be doing dance – whether as a career or hobby – and they get enjoyment, it is a pretty awesome thing! There are a lot of people out there that don’t do the things that they love… because it’s either not financially stable or it’s not approved… But for people who are just dancing, I think already it is a step above because they’re doing something that they love. So first and foremost, I think people have just got to enjoy dancing and, secondly, is the sharing and connecting with people.
Everyone that I’ve been able to meet and everywhere that I’ve been able to go has been because of dance. That’s a pretty special thing!… to do something that I enjoy individually but also all the friendships I have made have been through doing what I love.

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Watch Rob McLean from The Australian Dance Festival 2016!


Rob McLean is a teacher, dancer and choreographer. Originally from Canberra, Rob is currently based in Sydney and fast becoming one of Australia’s most sought after choreographers and dancers.
As a performer his credits include; Justin Bieber, Jason Derulo, X Factor Australia, Jessica Mauboy, The Dream Dance Company, So You Think You Can Dance Australia season 4, Ricki Lee, Dancing For Jane, NRL State of Origin 2015, Telstra, Peter Alexander, Diesel, Australian Dance Festival, Victorian Dance Festival and more.
As a choreographer Rob has exhibited work Internationally at Hennessy VSOP Artistry Awards in Shanghai, The Australian Dance Festival, The First VI, Short and Sweet Melbourne, Speakeasy Industry Dance Night in Sydney, Carnival in Sydney and Immersed Dance Industry Night in Melbourne.
Rob is not only a passionate dancer and choreographer, he is also a very well respected teacher, across Australia and overseas. He creates a relaxed and fun environment, at the same time really pushes his students to extend and improve their abilities. Rob travelled internationally again in 2016, teaching in Japan in January and in November, as well as performing and choreographing in China late 2015. Rob has also spent a lot of time working as an adjudicator over the past two years.