IN 2011, STUDIO 23 PRODUCED DANCE ME A STORY, a dance theatre event which used drama and dance to tell two stories: ‘An Arabian Fairy Tale’, the journey of a prince on a quest to find a wife, and ‘Stronger’, the story of three women whose lives and struggles intertwine. Playing to over 1,400 people at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching, this one- night-only production featured several milestones for local performing arts, including the first- ever aerial silk choreography performed in Sarawak.
Five years later, Dance Me A Story 2 features ‘Scattered Showers’, an original love story told over four seasons: Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring. In life, things rarely go according to plan. Bright, sunny days can be interrupted by sudden storms and when this happens, you can choose to let them ruin your day, or you can learn to dance in the rain. Its message is one of hope: Spring always follows Winter. This is Studio 23’s last production – after 8 years in Kuching, its founders, Serina and Albert Lim, will be moving to Kuala Lumpur.
More than 80 performers, nearly all local Kuchingites, will take the stage for three shows from December 9th – 11th, and they will have some very special company. One of the highlights of the production is the first visit of Anasma to Malaysia. Based in France, this internationally-renowned dancer and instructor – highly regarded for her intricate, expressive and emotive performances – will participate in DMAS 2 as a featured performer, and as Co-Director.
One difference between Dance Me A Story and its sequel is that this production will feature a greater emphasis on acting. Some portions of the performance will be entirely portrayed through drama, and others will integrate acting with dance. Having trained under dance instructors in Australia, England, South Korea and America, Serina also recently travelled as far as New york City to learn acting and drama techniques.
For DMAS 2, Studio 23 will be supporting the Sarawak Women for Women Society. SWWS is a non- governmental organization providing support, encouragement and education for women in Sarawak, and they will receive a portion of every ticket sold. Serina has volunteered and worked with them since 2003, as a crisis phone-line helper, and as a facilitator for talks on personal safety.
One of Studio 23’s goals is to be a sanctuary for women. In fact, it began as a way for Serina to combine two of her passions: dance, and advocacy for women and children. Serina has taught dance classes at a women’s shelter home, and also at a center for street children in Kuala Lumpur. SWWS plays a very important role in helping and giving hope to women, and it would be a fitting end for Studio 23 to, in its final performance, give back to such a worthy cause.