By Rain Francis of Dance Informa.
After training at the Victorian College of the Arts, David Mack joined West Australian Ballet. Later heading to London, he worked with Rambert Dance Company and Phoenix Dance Theatre, performing in works by Christopher Bruce, Rafael Bonachela, Wayne McGregor, Frederick Ashton, Kim Branstrup, Michael Clark and Javier de Frutos. After another stint with WAB, David joined Sydney Dance Company in 2014. Here, Dance Informa chats with him about his career.
What is your first memory of dance?
“Michael Jackson impersonations in the lounge room with my sisters!”
How did you get your current job at SDC?
“I have actually known Rafael [the Artistic Director] since his dancing days at Rambert and after I expressed interest in Sydney Dance Company a few years ago, he invited me to join this year.”
What have been some of your highlights while with SDC?
“The short answer is ‘everything.’ Recently we had Jacopo Godani come to remount his work Raw Models for our last season Interplay, which was an amazing experience. He has a very intelligent and mindful approach to dance and I think all of the dancers gained a huge amount from him. I also feel it’s a great privilege to be involved in Rafael’s creative processes, so creating his new work for Interplay with him was particularly enjoyable. Lastly, my colleagues inspire me almost every day.”
Describe a typical day in the company.
“After I get the kids ready for school, I get to work at 8:30 for cardio and conditioning that I do myself. Class is 9:30 till 10:45, which is either ballet or contemporary. We then rehearse from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., with an hour for lunch. When performing 2 One Another on the national tour, we start work at about 1 p.m. with class and then rehearse until 6 p.m. before the show at 8 p.m.”
What is the most challenging thing about your job?
“Remaining self-critical without becoming despondent. It’s our job to constantly analyse ourselves but it’s important not to let that upset you on the bad days.”
What is the thing you love the most?
“Dancing until you have nothing left and being satisfied with what you did. Whether it’s on stage or in the studio, it doesn’t matter.”
What do you do in your non-dancing downtime?
“Play with my kids and bake bread.”
How do you cope with nerves?
“Remember that the nerves will be gone as soon as you walk on stage. Stay cool till then!”
Which roles are on your wishlist?
“Any new modern work with depth in the character would satisfy me. As a ballet dancer, I always wanted to dance Romeo.”
Who have been your favourite choreographers to work with?
“Obviously, Rafael Bonachela; Javier de Frutos taught me a lot; one of our dancers Cass Mortimer-Eipper and I have always had fun together when he choreographs; and Natalie Weir is always so generous. As I said earlier, working with Jacopo Godani was amazing as well.”
Who is on your wishlist to work with?
“Mats Ek has always astounded me with his inventiveness.”
Do you think about a life after dance? And if so, how do you prepare?
“I think about it a lot but am yet to make a decision. Study and experience the world outside dance while you are still dancing – you never know what you will be when you grow up.”
What is your advice to recent dance graduates?
“Stay smart. Keep your brain active everyday. Your dance career will flourish for it and your future after dance will be all the less daunting.”
For more about Sydney Dance Company visit www.sydneydancecompany.com.
Photo (top): Principal Dancer David Mack, center, performing in Gideon Obarzanek’s L’Chaim as part of Sydney Dance Company’s Interplay programme. Photo by Wendell Teodoro.