The right moves

Paula Ab­dul is here to pass pas judg­ment on the dancers of Aus­tralia. Guy Davis s spoke with the star of Ten’s re­launched So You Think You Y Can Dance Aus­tralia.

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Ab­dul: “The beauty of this show is that you see some­thing raw and un­tapped, even if they may not be the most pol­ished per­former”

above right, con­tes­tants

vie for a spot in the com­pe­ti­tion.

Let’s face it, if any­one is qual­i­fied to pass judg­ment on peo­ple’s dance moves, it’s Paula Ab­dul. She’s been light on her feet since she was a kid. She was hand- picked by the Jack­sons – as in Micha Michael Jack­son – to or­gan­ise the rou­tines they would use in mu­sic videos and dur­ing live con­certs. And that led to a suc­cess­ful ca­reer as a chore­og­ra­pher for some of the t big­gest names in show busi­ness. Her ca­reer as a pop star in the ’ 80 80s and ’ 90s saw her reg­u­larly top the charts and win an ar­ray of awards, and then a gear shift in 2002 re­sulte re­sulted in a dif­fer­ent kind of fame when she be­came a judge on the phe­nom­e­nally phe­nom­e­nal pop­u­lar tal­ent quest Amer­i­can Idol.

Now Ab­dul is back on the judg­ing panel, this time for Ten on the net­work’s re­boot of So You Think You Can Dance Aus­tralia.

It fol­lows a brief stint as a guest judge on the US ver­sion of the show, show a gig she found re­ward­ing and en­joy­able.

“There’s noth­ing like be­ing able to sit where I sit and wit­ness awein­spir­ing tal­ent,” she said.

For Ab­dul, fi­nally be­ing able to make it to Aus­tralia was an added bonus of her new job.

Sched­ul­ing con­flicts in the past kept her from the three pre­vi­ous times tim she was meant to travel here.

“So many peo­ple I know have fallen in love with Aus­tralia, and through them I’d kind of fallen in love lov with it too,” she said.

Ab­dul ap­pears along­side fel­low judges Ja­son Gilk­i­son, Shan­non Holtzapf­fel and Aaron Cash and hos host Car­rie Bick­more on So You Think You Yo Can Dance Aus­tralia, and con­sid­ers the role an op­por­tu­nity to en­able dancers to show the best of their skills.

“I love be­ing around tal­ent – it al­ways in­spires me,” she said.

“I started be­hind the scenes at the age of 17 as a chore­og­ra­pher and I worked with iconic tal­ent, some of them not that com­fort­able danc­ing, and I saw that vul­ner­a­bil­ity. It was where I re­ally started to learn about mo­ti­vat­ing peo­ple and bring­ing out their best.”

Tech­ni­cal abil­ity is of course some­thing Ab­dul and the other judges will be look­ing for from So You Think You Can Dance Aus­tralia’s con­tes­tants. But it’s pas­sion she says she re­ally re­sponds to.

“The beauty of this show is that you see some­thing raw and un­tapped, even if they may not be the most pol­ished per­former, and that’s won­der­ful,” she said.

“If some­one is not cut out for danc­ing, there is a way of be­ing com­pletely trans­par­ent and hon­est with­out break­ing some­one’s spirit.

“But if they don’t have their heart jump­ing out of their skin and grab­bing me by the throat, I lose in­ter­est be­cause per­fec­tion with­out heart is empty to me. Pas­sion com­mands you to pay at­ten­tion, and that to me is what’s in­ter­est­ing.”

So You Think You Can Dance Aus­tralia, Ten, Sun­day, 6.30pm

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