Saturday, December 31, 2011


Another year is just about done, and we’re amazed at how full it was! After our inaugural year, we had some great leaps in 2010 - but 2011 was by far the biggest year yet for Studio 23, and to finish it up we’re having a look back at the past 12 months.


We had a nice and easy start to year 3. Our Crazy Monkey Defense and Flamenco programs were featured in newspaper articles, but mostly we spent January laying the groundwork for the following months.

By the time February rolled around, Albert and Serina were already in Sydney, Australia, taking some training courses.
Albert’s February was a slice of BJJ heaven: at the start of the month he trained with Nicolas Gregoriades (Roger Gracie’s first Black Belt) in Sydney, and at the end of the month he got to train with the man himself, Roger Gracie when he put on a seminar at Evolve MMA in Singapore!

Albert with Professor Nicolas Gregoriades in Sydney, Australia. 

Albert with Professor Roger Gracie at Evolve MMA, Singapore.

March was a taste of things to come, as things were slowly but surely piling on. We began Season 2 of our Core Strength Bootcamp with 15 participants, and we were really excited to see how this was going to go! Studio 23 was featured twice more, in the Borneo Post and (thanks to Tabitha) in Just Dance magazine, in an article about Kuching dance culture. Finally, we played host to a special guest as BJJ Brown Belt Christian Graugart stopped by as part of his world tour!

We introduced Belly Dance Tribal Fusion for the first time, and opened our first new BJJ class on Friday evenings.  The end of April featured our Martial Arts Open Week, where anyone could walk in and join any of our Jiu-Jitsu or Crazy Monkey classes for free.

April’s Martial Arts Open Week led straight into our May martial arts promo, in which we offered big discounts to anyone joining the BJJ or CMD programs in May. The promotion received a lot of great feedback and results, and we’ll probably be bringing it back soon! May was also a month of milestones for Studio 23:
1. Albert was promoted to Purple Belt in BJJ during training with Professor Adam Kayoom in Thailand.
2. Ivan was promoted to Blue Belt, officially ending the saga of South East Asia’s most notorious sandbagger.
3. The fourth World Belly Dance Day was held in Kuala Lumpur, and Serina performed a new choreography. That’s not new, but this was the first time that a group of students travelled with her for a performance and workshops!
4. More CMD classes were added to the schedule. These classes were focused on fundamental techniques that were just as useful to absolute beginners and seasoned veterans.

Serina and Studio 23 dancers at the 2011 World Belly Dance Day performance in KL.

Promoted to Purple Belt: Albert with Professor Adam Kayoom in Bangkok, Thailand.

The Studio 23 / ATT Borneo Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu team.

In June, the Studio 23 Jiu-Jitsu team flew over to Manila for the 2011 Pan Asian BJJ International and came back with 7 medals! Not only was it a fantastic result for us, it was also the biggest team we have brought to a competition, at a modest 5! 

The BJJ team with Professor Adam at the 2011 Pan Asians, in Manila, Philippines. 5 competitors, 7 medals.

July saw the first audition for Dance Me A Story. For round 1, we had an incredible turnout of more than 100 dancers in Belly Dance, Jazz, Flamenco and Tango! It was also our first round of casting, and for this our production team flew in from KL. From July onwards, they would be flying over at least once a month! 

Our first cast meeting where producer, Serina, and production manager, Christina,
reveal the general storyboard for Dance Me A Story.

Round 2 of auditions for Dance Me A Story kicked off our August, and intensive rehearsals started on the 3rd

The rehearsals were not all just about dance! The Flamenco dancers also had to record their footwork to be used as background music. And just as they thought that it's a wrap, Albert flushes the toilet...

Also, Albert and Reuben flew over to KL for the annual CMD meet-and-greet at CMD Malaysia's headquarters.

Participants at the 2011 CMD Seminar in KL.

For Dance Me A Story, our focus now shifted from dance to drama, and our acting lessons began in earnest! Our production team worked with us, and special thanks go out to our drama coaches: Alison Nicholas and Sarah Lasung. 

Prince Shakil and his guard, Zabran,
 finding it a challenge to take themselves seriously in the beginning.

Our first full-cast rehearsals began in September, and the first round of photoshoots for the event took place as well!

Behind the scenes at the main cast photoshoot for "Stronger". 

In October, the Dance Me A Story performers had their first full-dress rehearsals. It was a great chance for our performers – some of whom having never even been part of a play in school – to get a picture of how everything would look when everyone was all made up. 

Full-dress rehearsals are always an exciting time as everyone gets to see what everyone else is going to wear!

This month also saw the fourth Thailand BJJ Open, and even though most of the BJJ team was unable to attend, Albert made the trip out to compete and came home with a couple of medals and a lot of experience! 

Albert won a silver medal in his No-Gi division at the 2011 Thailand Open.
It's the best result he's earned so far in No-Gi, and next year he'll be planning on doing better!
Finally, San Fransisco-based Sandra came back to KL for some more Belly Dance workshops and Serina took the chance to sneak away from rehearsals to go and learn from one of her favorite Belly Dance instructors! 

Serina at Sandra's workshop in KL. The workshop participants lining up for a good shot of Sandra's demo.


It goes without saying that in November our focus was completely on Dance Me A Story. With over 100 performers in both dancing and non-dancing roles, and an audience of about 1400 people, it was a massive effort and by far our most ambitious project. Pre-production work took 2 years, and if you were wondering why we haven’t made a blog post about it, it’s because we’re still doing the post-production work! From post-mortems to editing footage, we’ve still got our hands full with the show two months after it finished. We’ll have some more about it up soon, not to worry! 

The event hall for Dance Me A Story. It looks even bigger when it's filled up.

Dance Me A Story, Full Cast. Fortunately the stage held our weight and the show could proceed.

Warming up before the show. Pirates and princesses, zombies and street gangs united.

Last-minute full-dress rehearsal. Even zombies get nervous too!

The end of November saw Serina travel to KL for another Belly Dance workshop put on by Hungarian performer Mercedes Nieto, where she learnt even more ways to shimmy!

Shimmy, shimmy, shimmy!

The last month of 2011 began with our annual Belly Dance Hafla. Like our 2010 Hafla, this year’s party featured not only Belly Dance, but also Jazz and Flamenco performances as dancers from all our programs got together for a ladies’ only dance-off! It was the most informal event we've organized, and it was really fun being able to just relax, let our hair down and dance.

The Belly Dance and Modern Jazz Level 1 students blew everyone away with their confidence and poise!  And a trio of Belly Dance Level 2 dancers caught Serina completely off-guard when they had a surprise dance for her.  Instead of taking a break after Dance Me A Story, they met up and trained in secret!  Thank you so much :)

A full routine learnt in less than 3 weeks; not easy to pull off at all!

The Studio 23 dance troupe was also in action a couple of times, first at the Unimas Christmas show, “Christmas Is Coming To You”, and again during the Christmas Eve show at the Spring. 
At the 2011 Unimas Christmas charity production, "Christmas Is Coming To You".
It is now the last day of 2011.  As we post this, we are in London, England, where we arrived for a “holiday” of sorts 2 weeks ago. No later than 18 hours after we landed in the country, we were both training – Serina at Pineapple Dance Studios, and Albert at Roger Gracie Academy!

A jet-lagged but nonetheless gung ho Serina attended her first Commercial Jazz class at Pineapple Dance Studios– only to realize halfway through that she was in a Zumba class :p ...fortunately the Pineapple store was on hand to help out with some retail therapy after!

Just reading that over, we can’t believe that 2011 was such a packed year for us. As we reflect back on this year and get ready for the next one, we are profoundly grateful for everything that has happened to and for us over these 12 months. We had so many great experiences and learned an incredible amount that will surely help us in 2012 – year 4 for Studio 23!

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Ladies! Come and join us at our STUDIO 23 BELLY DANCE HIGH TEA HAFLA!

Date: 4th December 2011 (Sunday)
Time: 3:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Venue: Harbour View Hotel
Theme: Divalicious!

Bring your sisters, girlfriends, mothers and most importantly, your inner diva along for a time of 
girl power! 

Belly Dancers from levels 1-3 will be performing, our Jazz dancers will be showcasing a couple of broadway jazz numbers, and our Flamenco dancers will be there to join in the fun too. 

Adventurous guests will get to have a taste of all the different genres along with our dancers!

Tickets are on sale NOW, and places for this hafla are limited! RM35 each, available at the studio.

Don't forget your killer heels and feather boas, and see you there!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


It's been another two tiring days, and we are almost there! Here is a bunch of photos from Wednesday's run to BCCK.

The floor view from the back of the room.

The gallery will be located behind the floor seats, but the top-down view more than makes up for the distance.

A view of the lights that are being set up as you read this.

We know what SOME of you are thinking, and no, you don't get to swing around on the chains.

The BCCK crew is hard at work doing up barriers to hide all the magic being done backstage.

There will also be big screens set up for those of you who prefer a close-up shot of the action on stage!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


We didn't think we could get any busier with our upcoming show, 'Dance Me A Story'. Well, we were obviously wrong. Yesterday alone was a tremendously packed affair. We were at for an interview with Rosalind Tan, for a really fun chat in a freezing studio!

Rosalind, Serina and Albert at studios

Following that, we had to head back to Studio 23 for our official press conference! We put on a mini-showcase and answered some questions for the reporters. Thank you very much to all the papers who were there, we really appreciate it!

Article from Borneo Post

Article from Sin Chiew Jit Poh

Article from United Daily News

Article from New Sarawak Tribune

Article from See Hua Daily

Our performers, maintaining the long Studio 23 tradition of dancing well and posing well!

And if that wasn't enough, we also had to rush to BCCK for a meeting with our events coordinator, AND a rehearsal! We are working really hard to put forth the best experience that we can, and we are really excited to share it with everyone on Sunday!

The BCCK crew is working hard to set up, and Serina is also working hard to check the height of the stage!

Remember, tickets are still available! You can get them from the studio, or at our booth in MPH The Spring! Our booth is open from 12 noon - 2 pm and again from 6 pm - 8 pm.

For more information, you can email us at or call Eileen at 012 805 3005.

Thanks everyone, and see you Sunday!

Friday, October 21, 2011


No updates in a while, as we have been super busy with preparations for 'Dance Me A Story' - look for a whole bunch of cool stuff coming soon! In the meantime, here is a special promotion for the event!

If you haven't picked up YOUR tickets for 'Dance Me A Story' yet, now's the perfect time! From Saturday 22nd October to Sunday 30th October, when you buy 10 tickets you will get 1 ticket FREE!

What's more, the tickets don't all have to be the same price (e.g. if you buy 2 RM100 tickets, 2 RM80 tickets, 3 RM50 tickets and 3 RM30 tickets, you will still qualify - we will just take the average price and give you a ticket from that range)!

So, if you're waiting for your friends to get back to you, tell them to hurry before this promotion ends!

Monday, September 12, 2011


Our studio production has been featured in the Star newspaper! Have a read here, and when you're done you can book your tickets to Dance Me A Story (NOW AVAILABLE!) through any of the following ways:

1. Come in person to Studio 23
2. Call Eileen at 012 805 3005
3. Email us at

Saturday, August 27, 2011


We've been SUPER busy lately, preparing for our upcoming dance production: Dance Me A Story!

Featuring two stories:

"An Arabian Fairy Tale", in which you'll travel around the world with our Belly Dance divas!

"Stronger", where our Modern Jazz and Flamenco dancers will battle it out on the dancefloor!

One of our goals with this show is to support the Sarawak Women for Women Society, and raise awareness of domestic violence. 

We're aiming for at least 1500 people for this show, so share, share share this with your friends and family! And then share some more :)

Join us on November 6th for what's set to be a night of incredible performances!

Tickets available NOW!


For more information or to book tickets, you can:

Call Eileen at 012 805 3005,

Email us at, or

Drop by the studio! We are located at 152 Lorong 8, Jalan Tun Ahmad Zaidi Adruce. It's right on top of Little Hainan, and very close to 3rd Mile.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Rehearsals: August - October

WEDNESDAY (starting 3rd August)

6:00 - 6:30 p.m. : The Storm Princesses
6:30 - 7:15 p.m. : The Water Princesses
8:15 - 9:00 p.m. : Flamenco
9:15 - 10:15 p.m.: Argentine Tango (rehearsals start Sept)

THURSDAY (starting 4th August)

6:30 - 7:10 p.m.: Flamenco (own practice)
8:15 - 9:00 p.m.: The Tribal Princesses

FRIDAY (starting 5th August)

5:00 - 6:00 p.m. : Happy
7:30 - 8:00 p.m. : The Air Princesses
8:00 - 8:30 p.m. : The Savannah Princesses
8:00 - 8:30 p.m. : Smooth Criminal (3rd Fl)
8:30 - 9:00 p.m. : I Believe
9:00 - 9:30 p.m. : Make You Feel My Love
9:30 - 10:00 p.m.: Tore My Heart

SATURDAY (starting 6th August)

5:00 - 5:30 p.m.: Bust Your Windows*
5:30 - 6:00 p.m.: Apologize
6:00 - 6:30 p.m.: Sweet Disposition*
6:30 - 7:00 p.m.: Hush Hush*
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.: Fame & Thriller*

*The audition for these songs are at 8 p.m. on Sunday 21st August. Please come for practice this Saturday onwards if you have already learnt the dances, and would like to audition for them.

TUESDAY (starting 9th August)

8:30 - 9:30 p.m.: Breakin' Dishes/ Beggin'/ Imma Shine

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Over the past weekend a group of the Studio 23 dancers were in the house for the annual World Belly Dance Day, held this year in Bandar Sunway. Check out this write up about the event!



 by THOMAS TAN on 16 May, 2011

The guests that packed Euphoria by Ministry of Sound in Bandar Sunway last Saturday enjoyed an eye-opening experience as professional belly dancers from all over the world, including renowned French dancer, Yael Zarca, showcased their talent at the fourth Malaysia World Belly Dance Day.
It was a really great event for a worthwhile cause, as the proceeds from the sale of tickets at RM85 each will go to the Handicapped and Mentally Retarded Children’s Centre Selangor.
The evening saw top-class entertainment that amply displayed the grace and sophistication of authentic belly dancing.
Local and international belly dancers from Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Ukraine, France, and more, showed a previously unimaginable range of expression that the just pelvis and hips can convey to applause and cheers from the audience excited to see the dancers performing in different styles, techniques and combinations.
“The charity belly dance is part of our commuity service and continuous corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme; we’re doing our part to reach out to the needy and contribute to the community,” said Celebrity Fitness managing director, Choi Kwangho, who co-organised the event with Belly Fusion.
Co-organiser Brancy Nekvapil, who is the director of Belly Fusion, added that, “We want to do our bit for charity and donating to the welfare home is a wonderful thing to do for the community and I think everyone should come forward and help the less fortunate.”
Brancy took up belly dancing in 2005 and is active in performing and choreographing belly dance routines for annual dinners and private functions.
Spotted among the celebrities were actor Kelvin Liew, 8TV host Baki Zainal, DJ Max of One FM, 8TV Quickie host Megan Tan, model Wilson Tan and many more only too eager to join in the cause.
“It was for a good cause,” said
Charles Chow, 30, who attended the show with his friends, adding that, “We enjoyed the entertainment and contributing to the less privileged. Giving to charity is a wonderful thing.”

Belly dancer, Serena, from Studio 23 Kuching enchanted the audience with her solo performance, “Istanbul Groove”. Serena and her husband, Albert, who was here to watch her perform, are co-owners of Studio 23, a popular dance and fitness centre in Kuching.
World Belly Dance Day is held concurrently in several other countries in the month of May, with the objective of promoting authentic forms of belly dance.
The Handicapped and Mentally Retarded Children’s Centre Selangor is a home for children and elderly people who are orphaned, mentally retarded, blind, handicapped in some other way.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


As part of the Core Strength Bootcamp, we had planned an outing for everyone to get a workout and dinner in a new location. We settled on a pool party and pot luck dinner, followed by games! Here are some highlights from the evening! We were unfortunately unable to get everything (such as some hedge jumping) but maybe next time we'll just get some hidden cameras :)

It sounds funny calling this a warm-up, but anyway...

Using the pool is a great way to work out your arms -
you'll never need the ladder to get out again!

Jeremy kindly demonstrates how you don't need your hands to wave when you're in a pool.

It wasn't all hard work - we just had to get some action shots in as well!

A delicious, healthy dinner prepared by everyone!
Salads, roast chicken, bruschetta, hummus and butterless apple crumble -
it all went down very well after a great workout!

Getting ready for games!

Penguin maneuvering is serious business.

Taboo, the bomb game (we can't remember the actual name but it's really fun!) and
Hey, That's My Fish! were the games on deck for the evening. Great family fun!

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Reminder: Our first B-BOY CLASS starts tomorrow (Friday, May 6th) at 3:00 - 4:30 p.m. 

The B-BOY KIDS CLASS starts on Saturday (May 7th) at 4:30 - 5: 30 p.m. Catch Daus and the Soul Higher team with their last demo this week at 8:15 tonight! 

We've had a lot of requests for more B-Boy classes, and we'll open up a Sunday 4:00 p.m. class in June if we have enough people signed up for it - so if you're interested, let us know and tell your friends about it!

ARGENTINE TANGO: It's time to ocho and gancho! Our 3-month beginner course starts Wednesday 18th May, 9:15 - 10:15 p.m.

More info is coming soon, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


We would like to highlight two important individuals this month who will be going bald this May 15th:

Silas Michael from Truevents

It was Silas who first introduced SCCS to us, and even before Studio 23 was launched in 2009, Serina and her dance troupe performed for the SCCS Golden Child Camp at Santubong in 2008. For the first two Go Bald events, Studio 23 performed at the Spring to help promote awareness and to support the cause of SCCS.

We told them, "look, you can dance or you can get shaved"... the rest was easy!

We are also very proud of two ladies who got shaved; our very own Georgette Tan and Joanna Yap. Albert also went onboard as copywriter for the Go Bald team last year.

Bald Crazy Monkeys at the Spring

This year, we won’t be around during the Shave off on May 13 – May 15 at the spring, as a group of us will be attending the World Belly Dance Day Charity Event in KL the same weekend. We want to show our continuous support by helping Silas to raise money for his pledge card. Let’s help him reach his target of RM20k for the children!

Even the guys got into the Belly Dancing action!

Jeremy Rose (our youngest Brazilian Jiu Jitsu student!)

We would also like to help 10-year-old Jeremy raise money on his pledge card. One of the most traumatic experiences for children who are already suffering from the burden of cancer is the loss of their hair. 

We want to applaud Jeremy for stepping up and helping to spread the word. This is the 2nd year in a row that he is getting shaved. Because of him, children with cancer will know that it’s okay to be bald.  Way to go, Jeremy!    


We'd also like to highlight a recent post written by Silas. It's a great reminder on why the SCCS is such a worthy cause that deserves our support:

Go Bald 3: Let’s Help Kids Fight Cancer!
By: Silas Michael

Silas and his son, Matthew, both got shaved during the inaugural Go Bald event in 2009!

Three years ago, a friend of mine, Rodney Wong, an exco and Publicity Chairman of the Sarawak Children's Cancer Society (SCCS), approached me and several young entrepreneurs to come up with a happening approach for youths and the current generation to be involved in charity, specifically in aid of the SCCS, which supports children and families suffering from the trauma of childhood cancer.

Inspired by a similar event in Singapore, we decided to create GoBald. It is a campaign that aims to:
1) Raise awareness on childhood cancer in Sarawak
2) Garner support from the public for the SCCS and her projects
3) Raise funds for the SCCS

Apparently, a new childhood cancer case is diagnosed every 5 days in Sarawak (based on the last few year's report by the SGH) and the most well-equipped hospital in Sabah & Sarawak that provides the necessary treatment for childhood cancer is the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) that is located in Kuching, Sarawak. Even children from Sabah are sent there for bone cancer treatment. Even the famous major private hospital, Normah Medical Centre, only has facilities for leukemia treatment. 

The SCCS provides many forms of support for the children diagnosed with cancer and their families. You can find out more at but some of these include:
1) Providing counselling
2) Providing accommodation and transportation for those from out of town especially the less well-to-do families
3) Running programs and activities such as the Golden Child Camp (at resorts, incl family members) and children's ward visitations
4) Provide financial support for treatment
5) Helps purchase cancer treatment medicine when the hospital stock runs out (hospital has a pretty lengthy process in the procurement of new medicine stock, at times)

On an annual basis, the State Government allocates RM5k for every recognized state welfare organization, including the SCCS. However, the SCCS has a annual operations overhead of some RM500k.

Recently (last year), they were asked to relocate to a new location as the current place they're at now (just 4 min walk from the SGH) has been gazetted for urban development. The State Govt has provided a nice 1.7 acre land for the new SCCS centre but:
1) It's much further from the SGH (so the SCCS need a bigger van)
2) The new centre is well-equipped and more hospitable and bigger with more rooms but will cost some RM2.5million

While there are already some corporate sponsors supporting the SCCS, the sum that they provide is far too little and hence we need to raise a call-to-action by the general public via GoBald (The SCCS has other events including an annual food fair that raises some RM250-300k) especially among the youth and current generation (17-40yrs).

In the first year, GoBald was participated by some 100 shavees and 2 were ladies, raising about RM215k. Last year, over 400 people shaved, including more than 20 ladies, raising some RM400k++

This year, we are running GoBald in two cities. Miri and Kuching:
1st May - Bintang Megamall, Miri
15th May - The Spring Shopping Mall, Kuching

This year, we hope to garner more shavees and raise even more funds. The target is RM1.5million but we'll leave that as the annual target and not just on GoBald's campaign alone. Nonetheless, nothing wrong with trying to achieve that amount. If not this year, maybe next year. But that's a whole new story init?

So, just how do we raise funds as a shavee?

In the first year, Kenny Sia, a renown blogger and celebrity in his own right came to the fore to help champion the cause among his blog readers and friends. He pledged to raise RM50k before he would go onstage to GoBald. Kenny raised of RM60k for the SCCS. In total, over 100 heads were shaved in front of a watching audience at the Spring, Kuching and RM215k was raised.

Last year, several prominent individuals came to the fore and one of them, a gospel artiste and church pastor, GT Lim, raised over RM90k from his sponsors. In total, over 400 heads were shaved and about RM400k++ was raised.

This year, there are no celebs. No prominent VIPs. But there's still you and I. We can make a difference too. I'm pledging to raise RM20k from my friends and business associates. You could raise RM100 or RM100k. The amount does not matter. It's the action and desire to show your support for children with cancer. So, join me in this quest, and let's Shave to Save. Let's help kids fight cancer!

Find out more at and see how you too, can participate and support the campaign and the SCCS.
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