Dancing From Australia to L.A.: Meet 19-Year-Old Seth Collier

April 19, 2024

Seth Collier burst onto the international dance film scene in 2022 when he won the Inspired Dance Film Festival at just 17 years old. His runner-up? None other than Emmy Award–winning choreographer Derek Hough. Now, Collier is ready to take the professional performance industry by storm—starting with a move from Australia to L.A. this July.

Collier chatted with Dance Spirit about his journey to dance, how he turned a school project into IDFF’s Best of the Fest–winning work, his goals for the future, and more.

Dance Spirit: Tell us a bit about your dance training.
SC: I grew up on a farm, and my parents knew nothing about dance. They put me in rugby for six years, but when I saw my sister take a dance class at a nearby school called Just Dance, I immediately said I wanted to join too. At 12, I started dancing at a private school called West Moreton Anglican College. It had a good dance program and we competed against other schools. When I was in 10th grade, I traveled one day per week to train at Dynamite Studios [one of Australia’s premier dance studios] on the Gold Coast. After that first year, I joined the school full-time. It’s similar to a college dance program in the U.S. where you dance all day every day and finish with a qualification. While there I focused on commercial and musical theater dance, and I finished my full-time training with them in 2022. 

DS: What is the Inspired Dance Film Festival?
SC: It’s an [Australia-based] competition of dance work on film, run by Adam Garcia—a former judge on Australia’s version of “Dancing with the Stars.” People from all over the world submit their dance films, and a handful of films are selected for the showcase in Brisbane. At the showcase the winner is announced. 

DS: Tell us a bit about your journey to winning the IDFF.
SC: When I was 16, I choreographed, filmed, edited, and danced in River, as part of a school dance assignment. I didn’t have a crew or any real help filming it. I was happy with it, but I never expected anything to come of it. In 2022 my dance teacher, Kate Wormald, was an ambassador to the Inspired Dance Film Festival and posted about the competition. I submitted River, having no idea that I’d be competing with professionals like Derek Hough. I had no expectations that I would win. Surprisingly, I was chosen for the showcase and won Best of the Fest. I was completely shocked.

Photo courtesy Collier

DS: What other choreographic work have you done?
I’ve choreographed and danced in films for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, including a kids’ film I did when I was 17 called Viv’s Silly Mango. I auditioned for the role of Brad in the film, and when they gave me the part they asked if I would be able to also choreograph and dance in the show. Other than that, I’ve done lots of live performances, as well as a music video for Alexa Curtis when I was 18 years old.

DS: What was the turning point in your training when you realized you could make dance your career?
SC: I’ve always danced without a career mindset—it was just something I loved doing. But during my year of full-time training at Dynamite, I got picked for some solo moments and lead roles in the dances, and any doubt in my mind of my ability to pursue it as a career left. The solidifying moment was when I signed with my agency, McDonald/Selznick [MSA] Associates, in October of 2023.

DS: What challenges have you faced as a dancer?
SC: I have had moments where I have felt like I wasn’t good enough, but the primary challenges to my dance training came from living on a farm out in the bush. It took me an hour and a half to get to my dance classes at Dynamite every day. My parents didn’t have a clue about the performing arts industry, so I had to navigate it all by myself, and that was really hard.

DS: What are your dreams for the future?
SC: I’ve got lots of plans and dreams. My current career plan is to move to Los Angeles this July and start working with MSA. I have landed a job at Gravity Space LA in Hollywood, and will work there as a Dynamite representative teacher and choreographer. Long term, I would love to work in the commercial world and be a backup dancer for an artist.