The Ziegler sisters, most famous for the hit U.S television series Dance Moms, came to Australia and New Zealand last month to host a meet-and-greet dance spectacular for their biggest fans, with the tour lead by Australian renowned choreographer Marko Panzic.
Marko Panzic and The Dream Team featuring Alea O’Shea, Mitch Wynter, Ben Turland, Cameron Field, Cheska Gonzales and special guest Charlize Riley Glass all supported Maddie and Mackenzie Ziegler on tour. Marko hosted the Ultimate Dance Masterclass to thousands of budding dancers, which focused on performance-based commercial choreography.
“For me, it was a great time being in front of this new generation where the whole Dance Moms’ world connects to a younger audience. There are so many kids in the one room so I know the battle of teaching choreography to hundreds of dancers at once,” said Marko.
“I’m all about the performance side of dance, forcing dancers to think of why they dance. We often get too caught up in the technical acrobatics so I really wanted to expose them to choreography that had performance and feeling—and the kids really let their guard down,” he added.
New Zealand was the first session of the tour to sell out. It was the first time visiting Auckland and fans left no opportunity to waste in meeting their idols.
“New Zealand was such a vibe! When we got there the energy was amazing. It was cool to witness New Zealand’s talent and like all cities, as soon as they saw the girls, I saw them fangirling hard but this was a whole new level with kids crying and screaming,” he said.
“It was like the Beatles for kids!”
Marko has worked with many superstars on world tours and stage productions, but this year, he had the opportunity to return to Eurovision and choreograph Jessica Mauboy’s performance in Portugal. Even though the Aussie pop-star did not rank as highly as the country had hoped, Marko said she left with many personal wins.
“I was so proud of Jessica at Eurovision for her honesty during the performance. She grew so much as a performer after that night, which was such a win for her.”
Marko choreographed all the Australian competitors’ performances, including Dami Im’s performance at Eurovision in 2016 where she placed second in the final. Marko worked on Dami’s performance skills, but when she came out on stage, he was blown away.
“Once she stepped on stage, she became this superstar, and I remember watching it thinking, ‘what has happened—this is incredible!’”
Marko’s passion now is to work with the next generation of dancers and educate them about being supportive of the dance industry.
“To be a great dancer, you must first be a great audience member,” he said.
“Otherwise, we lose that beautiful witnessing because we are on our phones so much. When the lights go out and the first spotlight comes on, I get goosebumps and emotional. Watching dance live in a theatre is like our own church!”
“I never want that to be lost!” he added.
The Dream Dance Company founder wants to build a legacy around dance and expose it to a wider audience. He admits he cannot do this plight alone and encourages everyone in dance to build a community of their own to form connections and grow the industry.
“I want to keep the experience of the art of being in front of a live audience, to be respected and deserve the applause.”
“For our Australian culture, dance is a hard job in this country especially when the UK and US industries are strong because they celebrate greatness, and for some reason, in this country, once you become great, you get lost as we always cheer for the underdog,” he admitted.
“I encourage anyone out there to build a community. There is no value in it for me unless there are lots of people doing it too. Let’s build a community that can come together!”