VANESSA TOTA

Principal & Director

 

I come from an extensive background of dancing, singing and teaching. At the age of 5, I commenced training in jazz, tap, ballet (RAD) and singing at the Johnny Young Talent School. During my childhood and teenage years I performed throughout Victoria as a member of the Young Talent Team. Furthermore, at the age of 16, I was selected to perform several shows in Disneyland, Los Angeles, which was a great honour and one that I am extremely proud to have experienced.  In addition to the mainstream styles of dance, I have also trained in Brazilian and Latin dancing, having been part of shows at the widely renowned Copacabana restaurant.  To sum it up – I lived, breathed and slept dance!

After completing high school, I began to teach dance in order to support my way through University.   It was at that time I had an epiphany, it became abundantly clear that I had found my calling in life.  I no longer had the drive to perform in every show that I could muster, as it had been replaced with a passion for teaching dance to children that I never realised I had.  A few years later of teaching and studying, I finished my University Degree in Business and started working full time.  I continued to teach all day on Saturday’s as it was never an option to quit something that I loved and only consolidated my feelings that teaching was my vocation, not my hobby.  And so the Shine dream began.

As well as being a mum of three, I have learned a lot about children, teenagers and young adults throughout my 20 years of teaching.  Importantly, I feel my strength is connecting with students on a level from which they can understand and improve. I instruct our teachers to do the same, as they inspire students with their love of performing.  I am yet to meet a student who has not developed in self-esteem and technique by undertaking dance &/or singing lessons in such an environment.  That’s what makes Shine so special.