Speakers Profile - Paul Mercurio

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It all started at the age of nine when Paul first told his mum that he wanted to learn to dance. Encouraging of her young son, Paul went on to study classical ballet, jazz, tap and vaudeville, and then at thirteen he joined an amateur theatre group and studied the various disciplines of theatre for fours years. Combining these two disciplines has informed and shaped his career as a performer, a choreographer and as a director ever since.

Paul's career has been one of diversity. The first stage was very much focused on dance and choreography. From 1982 - 1992 he toured extensively around Australia and the world, performing and choreographing with Sydney Dance Company where he was principal dancer for ten years. He formed his own dance company Australian Choreographic Ensemble in 1992 for which he directed, choreographed and danced. Paul's choreographic credits include more than thirty dance works for stage and TV - well actually 33 if you don't include the TV commercials. He was awarded the Mo Award for Dance Performer of the year 1992.

He contributed choreography on "Strictly Ballroom" and has also choreographed 4 other feature films, the last one being Will Smith's mega blockbuster "I Robot" for which Paul choreographed the Robots. He was nominated in 2004 for a Helpmann award for his choreography for the musical "Annie Get Your Gun" but was pipped at the post by "The Producers".

The second stage has been focused on the film and television industry where Paul has made a mark as an actor, being nominated for an AFI award and a Logie and working with such notables as Ben Kingsley, Martin Landowne, Christian Slater and others. He has appeared in fourteen US and Australian feature films and countless hours of television spanning the drama, comedy and lifestyle genres - including guest appearances in some of Australia's most loved TV series, such as "Water Rats", "Medivac", "Heartbreak High", "Blue Heelers", "All Saints" and most recently Seven's top rating drama "City Homicide".

Paul is well known for his time on "Dancing with the Stars" in Australia and New Zealand and also hosted three series of his own food and travel series, "The Food Trail" and "Mercurio's Menu". He is now in production with his second series of "Mercurio's Menu", coming soon to the Seven Network. This time Paul travels across Australia and New Zealand meeting the locals and using fresh produce to cook up a storm.

His first series of "Mercurio's Menu" had significant success with a peak audience of 1,016,000 and a weekly average of 862,000.

In between shooting series for "Mercurio's Menu", Paul managed to squeeze in another series of "Dancing with the Stars" in New Zealand, and will join their Judging Panel again in early 2009.

He has launched his own beer brand in Victoria - Mercs Own and is now working on a beer cookbook, which requires a lot of enjoyable but necessary research.

In between acting engagements, choreographic engagements, speaking engagements, teaching engagements, hosting engagements and other, you know - engagements, he is constantly developing and nurturing other interests in his life - the most important being his wife and three daughters. There is more that could be said about Paul and there is more to come but importantly his cholesterol levels remain low and he is enjoying life!