Paul commenced his dance training in Perth WA at the age of nine after being inspired by an early Elvis Presley movie. During his early teens he toured with various theatrical productions before accepting a scholarship with the West Australian Ballet Company in 1979. In 1981 he entered The Australian Ballet School and after only one year was offered a position with the Sydney Dance Company with Graeme Murphy.
Paul danced with Sydney Dance Company from 1982 to 1992 performing in the lead roles of several of Graeme Murphy's most notable works including Some Rooms, After Venice, Daphnis and Chloe, King Roger, Soft Bruising and many others. He also toured throughout the world with Sydney Dance Company performing works in New York, London, Paris, China and throughout Europe and Asia. From 1989 to 1996 Paul choreographed seven works for Sydney Dance Company including Waiting, Cafe (co-choreographed with Kim Walker), and Edging, a work set on in line skates performed at the Opera House in 1992.
In 1992 Paul attained world-wide recognition as an actor and a dancer for his performance in the lead role of Baz Luhrmann's film Strictly Ballroom. Paul has appeared in ten feature films and various Australian television productions including the Emmy award winning miniseries The Bible: Joseph and the Logie award winning The Day of the Roses for which he was nominated for Most Outstanding Actor. Also in 1992 Paul established his own dance company, the Australian Choreographic Ensemble, which performed and toured nationally for three years. He also made a documentary called Life's Burning Desire about the formation of his company. In 1996 Paul wrote, directed and choreographed his first short film Spilt Milk. Paul choreographed Bar Blu for Tasdance's Passion fruit season in 1997 and subsequent tour in 1999.