IT was the dance routine about a mother losing her child that had Carrie Bickmore and the four So You Think You Can Dance judges in tears.
Malek (pictured), together with his business and life partner Chris Currran, is the artistic director of Collaboration The Project — a dance production company specialising in theatrical productions, events, workshops and online content.
Founded by Paul Malek in 2008, Collaboration has produced several award-winning contemporary dance productions as well as the popular online chat Dance Chat.
This year’s SYTYCD has seen Malek continue to develop a body of work that is based on gut-wrenching emotion, dealing with tough topics head-on.
The piece that had judges bleary-eyed was about a mother dealing with the loss of a her daughter, and in talking with the Star Observer Malek made it clear that this was his shtick.
“I work more on the emotive level and story telling level. I take real life difficult circumstances and express them through dance,” he said.
Malek added that he “usually draws on personal experience”. His emotional piece on SYTYCD was as a result of his aunt losing a child to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and the pain of his childhood memories of that loss and the impact it had on his family — particularly his aunt.
But such emotion also impacted the up-and-coming choreographer and he treated his role seriously.
“It is when I was recreating the piece for the top 20 episode. I went over and over the issues. Do we have it right? Are we honouring mothers that have lost a child? Yes, it does take a lot out of you when you are working with such heavy concepts,” he explained.
Malek said he looked for “light and shade” while in rehearsals as a way to protect the emotions of his dancing talents: “It is not so much how deep you go but how quickly you can get out of it that is so important.
“All of my dance work is telling a story and has to be a truthful story. My work is based on realism and the thing you need the most is truth.”
Malek will return to SYTYCD in the top 14 episode, where he will delve into a real-life situation. While not saying precisely what it would be about, he said: “Let’s just say sometimes you don’t know what you have got until it’s gone.”