Shirena Dato’ Hamzah
Founder and Principal
BA (Honours), LIST Tap, LIST Modern, RAD TC, FISTD Tap
Shirena Hamzah, whose repertoire include Ballet, Tap, Modern, Jazz, Lyrical and Musical Theatre, is a seasoned performer, having graced Malaysian stages and Television productions since the age of eight. By the age of 14, Shirena became a member of a local dance company called The Sayang Dancers, headed by veteran choreographer Farah Sulaiman, and began part-time work as a teaching assistant in Sayang Academy of Dancing.
Having completed her Advance levels in dance successfully by the age 16, she then proceeded to join the Philharmonic Society of Selangor and TAPP Company as a dancer, then later as a choreographer and Principal dancer in productions such as “Yesterday”, “Regards to Broadway”, and “Charity Dance Extravaganza” which was jointly staged by The Dance Society of Selangor.
She then left Malaysia to pursue a Bachelors Degree in Hawaii, where she studied dance in the Honolulu Dance Studio and Pacific Intercultural Academy of Performing Arts. There, she further strengthened her Tap, Jazz and Lyrical technique, and choreography skills in Tap and Musical Theatre. When she returned, she rejoined the Sayang Dancers for two musical productions, “Dance Hysteria” and “Broadway Babies”, after which she founded Dancesteps Studio where she began her career as a full time dance instructor.
Shirena is now dedicated to ensuring her students are given even more opportunities to perform and pursue a dance career. Apart from a number of shows in which she choreographed, performed, and sang in, including a small musical staged by Australia’s Polard Productions, “Fosse’s World” staged in the 2005 MyDance Festival, “In The Mood” staged by the Philharmonic Society of Selangor, and two productions staged by Six2Eight, a professional a capella group, Shirena has spent her time and energy producing annual recitals for Dancesteps Studio and also organizing international workshops and exchange programmes with instructors from New York City, London and Hawaii. She has also choreographed and coached dancers for international competitions in which her entries have picked-up top awards for excellence in dance styles and precision, and has studied the Hawaiian Hula, for her love of Hawaiian culture and dance.
Shirena is currently a registered teacher with the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) and the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD). She currently holds the RAD Ballet Teaching Certificate and has been appointed as a Teaching Mentor for the academy. Shirena also holds the ISTD Licentiate Modern certificate, and in 2012 became the first Malaysia to be awarded the Fellowship Tap from the same awarding body.
Trained by veteran choreographer Farah Sulaiman, Clara specializes in Tap, Modern Theatre and Classical Ballet. Having picked up the top award for precision in tap dance at the 2002 Hawaii International Dance Festival, Clara currently holds the ISTD Associate Diploma Tap and Modern Theatre certificates and is a fulltime dance instructor at Dancesteps Studio.
Clara has performed with the Sayang Dancers in “Dance Hysteria” and “Broadway Babies”, and also worked in several stage and television productions with the company. In 2005, she became one of the lead dancers in the Philharmonic Society of Selangor’s “In The Mood” and in Shirena Hamzah’s “Fosse’s World” staged at the MyDance Festival at the KLPAC. Clara has also been actively involved in the Short & Sweet dance festivals which is held at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre every year. Her collaborations with Shirena Hamzah for the festival include “Dancin’ Man”, “IHeartMJ”, and “The Silverscreen”, which have all won top awards.
In 2013, together with Shirena Hamzah, Clara opened up Baby Dancesteps, a pre-school dance centre for children aged 18 months to 6-years-old.
Too Cyn Dee
LRAD, ARAD, AISTD
Cyn Dee began her dance training at the age of nine at Sri Wilayah Ballet Centre where she successfully completed her Advanced dances in Ballet and Modern by the age of 17. During those years, she performed in ‘The Nutcracker’ staged by the Universal Ballet Company from Korea together with the Hong Kong Academy of Arts Company and also competed in various TDS competitions. In 1993, she went on to London to do a three-year Teacher Training Course at the Royal Academy of Dance. There, she obtained her Licentiate Diploma (LRAD), her Associate Diploma Modern ISTD and Associate National. She also danced and choreographed for various performances, collaborating with Central St. Martin’s School of Art and Design for ‘Design for Dance’.
Upon returning to Malaysia, Cyn Dee worked in TDS’ Pulse ’97, Danceworks (1998), Danceworks 2 (2000), MyDance Festival (2001 and 2005); and was the principal dancer for ‘The Slave Princess’ organized by TDS and Dance Classique, by Kuala Lumpur Dance Theatre in 1999, performing Les Sylphide, Paquita and Le Corsaire.
Raja Rozmin is a registered teacher with the Royal Academy of Dance. A former practising lawyer and natural dancer, Rozmin left the legal world after 7 years to pursue her love for dance full time. She cultivated her passion for dance at Dancesteps Studio where she is currently training at the Advanced 1 Ballet level and the Advanced 2 Modern Theatre and Associate Modern Theatre under Principal Shirena Hamzah’s guidance.
An established hip hop instructor, her vibrancy and enthusiasm is also evident in her modern and pre-primary ballet classes at Dancesteps.
Rozmin performed at the Short & Sweet Festival 2009, her first foray into the world of stage shows.
Selina teaches Classical Ballet in Dancesteps Studio and has completed her RAD Advance 2 Ballet and holds the RAD Ballet Teaching Certificate. A beautiful and graceful dancer, she won best soloist in the 2002 Hawaii International Dance Festival and also was awarded a gold medal in the small group category for musical theatre.
Phoebe Chiew is a registered teacher with the Royal Academy of Dance. She has been assisting and teaching since the age of 15. Starting dance when she was just 4, Phoebe has since gained a Distinction in Grade 8 Ballet, a Merit in Advanced Foundation Ballet, a Merit in Advance 1 Ballet and has completed the RAD Certificate of Ballet Teaching Studies. Phoebe has attended the Contemporary Dance Workshop with Alberto in 2008, Contemporary Dance Workshop in Short & Sweet Festival 2009 and the RAD Continuing Professional Development course in Birmingham, England in July 2011.
Mavis has been dancing since the tender age of 5, gaining a Distinction in Grade 8 Ballet, a Merit in Advanced Foundation Ballet and in addition, has been assisting and teaching since the age of 16. She is currently training in RAD Advanced 2 Ballet at Dancesteps Studio and undergoing the RAD Certificate of Ballet Teaching Studies. In addition, Mavis has attended the Contemporary Dance Workshop with Alberto in 2008, and the Contemporary Dance Workshop in Short & Sweet Festival 2009.
A student of dance since she was 3 years old, Nadia learned ballet under the tutelage of Lee Lee Lan of the Federal Academy of Ballet in Kuala Lumpur. At 25, she graduated from Middlesex University, London with a BA (Hons) in Dance Performance. In achieving her degree, she studied choreography as well as contemporary techniques such as Graham, Humprey, Cunningham, Limon and Cechetti ballet. She could count Mark Baldwin and Dr Alexandra Carter as her teachers. Now in her 30s, she has taken a role as a teacher with Dancesteps Studio. Previous experience includes teaching a 10-week workshop called Dance Program for Children at KLPAC in 2010.
Having a passion for the performing arts from an early age, Syaffiq discovered his interest in dance when he picked up Breakdancing and Hip-Hop in his hometown, Batu Pahat, Johor. He is a self-taught hip-hop and break-dancer, and initially regarded dancing as a hobby. His passion grew after completing his studies and he decided to take up dance seriously at the University of Malaya, where he eventually obtained a Bachelor of Performing Arts Majoring in Dance. Syaffiq was exposed to various disciplines at the University and has widened his knowledge and skill to include Contemporary dance, Malay and Indian traditional dance. He is also currently being trained to teach the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing Modern and Tap work.
Syaffiq has performed in various productions including Dancebox 2010, FestKUM 2010, MyDance Festival 2011, PeTA ASWARA 2012 and the Short and Sweet Dance Festival at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre from 2010 to 2012, where he was awarded Best Male Dancer in 2012.
While Breakdancing and Hip-Hop will always remain as the core of his love for dancing, Syaffiq seeks to further explore his own abilities and growth in dance as a performer, choreographer, and teacher.
Josephine started Ballet lessons at a tender age of 5 at City Ballet in Ipoh, Malaysia. After completing her academic education, she enrolled in the National Art Culture and Heritage Academy (ASWARA) and obtained a Diploma in Dance in 2012. There, she widened her repertoire to include Contemporary and Traditional dances. She is currently pursuing a Bachelors Degree in Dance and is actively attending dance conferences in Malaysia and Taipei, and is also actively performing locally, and has also represented the county in Beijing, Mongolia and Papua New Guinea. To widen her knowledge and scope in dancing she is currently training to teach the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing Modern and Tap work, and has plans to also pursue a Masters in Dance and a Certificate in ballet teaching.
Jay started ballet at the tender age of 3 and had begun performing for television shows at the age of 5. She was trained by two of her aunties, Farah Sulaiman & Zulhaila Siregar at Sayang Academy. She started assisting and teaching ballet & tap at the age of 15.
At the age of 20, after a four year advertising & film production career, producing regional & international commercials, she decided to go back to dancing & also began teaching at Dancesteps Studio. It was at this time that she started exploring Modern. Jay then moved to Singapore in 2002, where she studied Jazz under Lionel Araya and studied American Tap at Jitterbugs Singapore, teaching tap while she was there. In 2004, she moved to Sydney and furthered her dance practice through contemporary dance at the Sydney Dance Company.
In 2005, she returned to Malaysia exploring acting and theatrical musical workshops, and also pursued vocal training. In 2010, she participated in Dancebox at Actor’s Studio, performing ‘Breathe’, which was choreographed by Claudine Gabriel from Ireland. In 2011, she danced as Josephine Baker and was part of the ensemble for ‘The Secret Life of Nora’, a musical production directed by award-winning West End musical director Steven Dexter. That same year, she also choreographed and performed a solo piece as a guest artist for Junji Delfino’s ‘Lush Life’ Concert at KLPAC.
Jay is also a mother, artist, and a photographer. Her photography work can be seen at j-redza.com.