Tuesday February 26, 2019

By: Sonia Bermejo


About our subject: Del Mak from London, UK is an award winning Choreographer, Creative Director and International Judge. He specialises in creating movement for film, music, live stage shows and tours having choreographed for Oscar nominated and Grammy Award winning talents. His choreography credits include; The Chemical Brothers, Franz Ferdinand + Sparks, M.I.A, Timbaland, Snarky Puppy’s Bill Laurance, the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards, Britain’s Got Talent, Nike, L’Oreal, Pizza Hut, MTV, Foot Locker and Adidas.)

Del Mak will be appearing as a World Judge on a new global TV talent competition show called “The World’s Best” hosted by James Corden and featuring American judges Drew Barrymore, RuPaul Charles, and Faith Hill. It will premiere on CBS after the Superbowl on the 3rd of February.

MUIM: Can you tell me a little something about your childhood? Family background? Education?

DM: I was born and bred in London, UK, my parents are both Chinese from Hong Kong and Malaysia so I got to see a fair bit of the East growing up. My parents did an amazing job working hard to put me through good education, they used to run a Chinese take out in London and I was that kid you’d see behind the counter watching TV and interacting with customers. I ended up going to one of the top universities in the UK and graduated with a Masters degree in Electrical & Electronic Engineering

MUIM: How would you describe yourself? Who and how did you get into dancing?

DM: As an East Asian growing up in a multicultural city like London, I have been fortunate to be exposed to many cultures and people from all walks of life. I have a very open mind to life and love, interacting and sharing experiences with all those I cross paths with.

I fell into dancing randomly in my 3rd year at university by tagging along with a university friend who lived in my student residence to a breaking (aka break dance) class at the world famous Pineapple Studio in London. I guess I was first interested in this particular style of dance as it was athletic and dynamic. I grew up watching Hong Kong Kung Fu movies featuring the likes of Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee & Jet Li, loving the fight choreography and sequences. I studied martial arts since I was 10 years old, so the coordination and balance were well matched to break dance too! The challenging part was connecting the moves to music.

This person I tagged along with, ended up asking me to be her dance partner at the university’s Latin and Ballroom Club and we competed on the university circuit for a year. After graduating from university I decided Engineering wasn’t for me and looked for a graduate job in Marketing. Whilst searching for this, I had more time to dance and eventually started to get scouted by dance agencies, offered work to dance, and, joined a hip hop dance company called Culture Shock. I thought if I can make money doing what I love, why not pursue it? So I ended up moving to New York to train at Broadway Dance Center for 6 months learning everything from Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, and African to House & Hip Hop.

After completing the program I returned to the UK and became a full time professional dancer and then eventually where I am now as a choreographer.

MUIM: What are your beliefs? What shaped your character the most? Who or what guides you to become the better person that you are today?

DM: My strongest belief is always strive to be happy. Having gone through an unconventional route to where I am now, I believe that there’s no limit to what we can achieve or be. Growing from all your experiences is very important whether they are good or bad. You learn more from the failures and they give you the means to become even better.

MUIM: What’s keeping you busy right now? And, why are you in Los Angeles?

DM: I will be appearing as a World Judge on a new global TV talent competition show called “The World’s Best” hosted by James Corden and featuring American judges Drew Barrymore, RuPaul Charles, and Faith Hill. It will premiere on CBS after the Superbowl on the 3rd of February. I am also currently working on Redken Symposium 2019 a hair convention in Vegas and choreographing the opening ceremony to be held at the Mandalay Bay Arena. I am an Elite World Judge for Hip Hop International so I often travel the world judging dance competitions and teaching. I will be in the UK, France and Canada over the next few months too.

MUIM: When do you think you will stop what you’re doing right now in your life?

DM: In terms of being in the Creative Arts, I don’t think I will ever stop as I love the challenge of coming up with something new and different that can not only change perception but can also be enjoyed. Obviously, being in dancing the body has its limits the older you get, but the knowledge and experiences gained can be transferred into many visual based art-forms. I can see myself moving into directing of some sort, potential for film as everyone loves being transported into another world and making the mind wander.

MUIM: If given another chance to change some things that happened in your life, what would they be?

DM: I wouldn’t change any part of my life, I have ended up where I am through the journey it has naturally taken me. Yes, there have been difficult times, and I could have made decisions that could have changed my route, but despite this, I do believe everything happens for a reason and if you stay true to yourself and everyone around you, you will eventually find the path that is for you and most importantly be happy!

MUIM: What words of wisdom can you offer in general, that will help towards the path to success?

DM: Human connection. The digital age is great, we have access to everything and everyone. However, it can still be a very lonely place with a lot of noise where everyone is sharing their best self. For me, nothing replaces actually physically meeting people and getting to know them, go see, embrace and experience things. The memories made will be the ones that stay with you forever.

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