Should You Dance Professionally? Aussie Dancer Martijn Sedgfield Says Yes
“With love of dance comes motivation and determination, with motivation and determination, comes results and with results comes more love and so the cycle repeats.” —Martijn Sedgfield
Dance is a tough business. Only a small pool of people in this world can master the lifestyle of a professional dancer. One person swimming through all his glory as a dance industry professional is Martijn Sedgfield—also a VDF instructor for 2017. Martijn said a dance lifestyle certainly has its low moments in terms of lack of consistent income and work, but the high moments are “well worth the fight.”
Have you felt pressured to pursue an avenue more economically steady and less creative than dance? Martijn Sedgfield knew he made the right choice when he committed to a dance career. “The moment that made me want to do dance as a career would have to be when I decided to quit my Hospitality Management course at university and I’m so happy that I did!”
Since studying full time at The Space Dance and Arts Centre in Melbourne, he has gone from strength to strength in his professional trajectory, including working in London as a dance teacher at Pineapple Studios to also frolicking around Europe teaching in Spain, Italy, Poland and many more places. However, one thing has struck a cord with Martijn about the value of life; being a dancer can unleash a strong sense of independence in difficult situations. “I discovered a very different type of inspiration, one that came from living the cliché life of a struggling dancer, as London life proved to be very expensive and I didn’t move with a lot of money to begin with.”
A shortage of finances have not stopped Martijn in his tracks, in fact, it has only motivated him more to live his dream as a performer. He has worked with some of the most talented profiles in the entertainment business in just a short boom of his career span. Martijn said he felt lucky to have worked on some incredible projects across the globe, including some well-known recording artists such as Jason Derulo, Meghan Trainor, Aston Merrygold, Nia Sioux (Dance Moms), Jessica Mauboy, Ricki-Lee, Jason Heerah, Oscar Key Sung, Natalie Gauci, Emily Williams and Ziggy Alberts to name a few. Alongside these outstanding credits, he has also appeared on TV shows such as Dance Moms in America, Everybody Dance Now, So You Think You Can Dance Australia, Dancing With The Stars and the Australian Logie Awards.”
Martijn had the pleasure of working with his favourite choreographer and director Erica Sobol. “She gave me my first opportunity to work internationally, assisting her on her workshop tour of Italy. Since then, I have performed in two of her full-length contemporary dance productions, “Wallow: Then Run, Gypsy, Run” in Melbourne and Sydney, and “RUNAWAY!” in Hollywood.” Martijn added, “The latter, was a result of her first place winning number entitled “Black Flies/Heavy Skies” in which I performed at a competition called the Capezio A.C.E Awards in New York. Throughout these two projects, I got to work with many dancers that I have admired, and still admire, and who inspire me tremendously.” Those dancers he has worked with have now gone on to become backup dancers for JLo, Beyonce, Ariana Grande and many others.
As a professional artist in both commercial and contemporary styles, Martijn believes learning from national and international choreographers will only enhance a dancer’s technical and emotional ability. Australia’s dance scene is still premature in terms of its niche market and audience, but Martijn’s long-term mission is to experience and learn as much as he can from international dance markets and bring it back here to help dancers and the dance industry expand. “I have always loved living in Melbourne and always believed that the Australian dance community has so much growth potential to become a hotspot for dancers, teachers, and choreographers from all over the world. So, eventually, after gaining as much knowledge and experience as I can from around the world, I would love to return to Australia and share as much of it as I can to the upcoming generations through opening my own dance school and/or company,” he said.
Martijn’s advice to all budding young dancers looking for professional work to brace themselves for a simultaneously rewarding and exhausting journey. “A huge amount of hard work, endless amounts of training, aches and pains await you should you choose this line of work, so you must be prepared to endure the lifestyle of a professional dancer in order to reap the rewards of one.”