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Vanessa

Founding Director of Shine – Since 2005

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 26 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.

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Lucy

Singing Instructor @ Shine Since 2020

Bachelor Muscial Theatre
Masters of Music Studies – Vocal Pedagogy (2022-) 

Lucy’s vocation was always going to be in music.  Her enthusiasm for music motivated her to embark on official training at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University upon finishing High School.  It was during her studies she developed not only her stage career, but also her knowledge of the voice and its anatomy.

After finishing her course, Lucy was picked to perform in many shows in and around Australia.  Some highlights include being a soloist in Qld’s Tourism Awards, QPAC’s American Music Night and performing on ABC Radio.   A few years on, Lucy decided to base herself in London to experience as many performing opportunities as possible.  She performed in several cabarets across London, as well as making her “West-End” debut in A Christmas Carol at the Lyceum Theatre, Covent Garden. Further Theatre credits include, Chicago, Into the Woods, Hair, I Love You You’re Perfect Now Change and Carousel. Screen credits include The Crown (Netflix) Bohemian Rhaposody (20th Century Fox), Aeronauts (Amazon), Pennyworth (Warner Bros.) and Little Drummer Girl (BBC).

The other side to Lucy’s career was a blossoming advancement in teaching.  For the past 10 years, Lucy has cherished being able to impart her wisdom on students – young and old.  Lucy is a very warm, hands-on and passionate teacher who wants each student to feel confident and comfortable in the studio.  She specialises in vocal health and technique, making sure students are using their bodies to support and help them produce a healthy, effortless sound!  Lucy is a wonderful acquisition for Shine and we’re thrilled to have her!!

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Jessica

Dance Instructor @ Shine Since 2017

Dip. Dance Performance & Cert IV Dance Teaching & Management

Jessica has been dancing all styles since she was very little. After spending several successful years at Shine (being awarded the prestigious Senior Student of the Year in 2009), Jessica went on to complete a 2 year Diploma in Elite Dance Performance and Cert IV in Dance Teaching and Management. All the while picking up invaluable experience as a dancer at shows and events throughout Melbourne.  Throughout 2015-2016, Jessica was hand-selected for a main role aboard the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines as part of the Dreamworks entertainment. Jessica got to sail the seas and bring so many smiles to many faces as part of her contract.

Upon returning, Jess took up a teaching role with Shine in 2017, before going back once again as Dance Captain for another contract in the USA in 2018.  Since returning from her 2nd contract overseas, Jessica was keen to come back to where it all began for her, and, to once again, impart her knowledge, enthusiasm and success on the students at Shine. Her warm and bubbly manner, together with her knowledge of the “Shine Culture” is a huge addition to the Shine team.

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Jaymee

Dance Instructor @ Shine Since 2011

Bach. Physiotherapy

Jaymee is a born and bred Bayside girl!!   Jaymee was a relatively late starter when it came to dancing, having started Jazz & Ballet at the age of 10.  From there, her love of dancing quickly blossomed as she added tap to her expanding repertoire.  Having grown up in Moorabbin, Jaymee was in fact an ex-student of Shine!   During her time with us, Jaymee showed amazing aptitude for performing and was first-selected to our inagural Senior Showgroup Class in 2008 after winning our most prestigious award – the Senior Student of the Year – in 2007.   During her time as a Shine student, Jaymee was involved in multiple competitions as well as being our star performer at several shows including the Myer Christmas Parade, the Royal Melbourne Show and the ‘Razzle Dazzle’ Premiere.

When Jaymee’s Shine student years were over, she decided to follow her dream to become a Physiotherapist.  During her time at Uni, Jaymee simply couldn’t walk away from Shine and in fact transitioned to becoming a part-time teacher at Shine in 2011 (after many years learning the ropes as Shine’s Receptionist!).  Jaymee was mentored into her teaching role by our very own Director & Principal Teacher, Vanessa Tota.  Jaymee was inspired to foster a love of dance for every student who walks into her classroom.   By day, Jaymee continues to be a highly sought after Physiotherapist specialising in concussion rehabilitation.  Her intricate knowledge of the human body is a bonus in ensuring she teaches students safely and appropriately.  Jaymee is, and always has been, a perfect fit for Shine!

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Helen

Dance Instructor @ Shine Since 2017

After showing an obvious love for anything dance, Helen began her performance journey at the age of 6.  Helen was one of Shine’s founding students in 2005 – training in Funk/Jazz, Ballet. Tap & Singing.  After showing obvious talent, Helen was our first recipient of both the Junior and Senior Student of the Year awards during her time at Shine.  Helen was part of Shine’s inaugural elite Showgroup classes in which she had wonderful opportunities to perform at various shows throughout Melbourne including the Myer Christmas Parade, Royal Melbourne Show & the ‘Razzle Dazzle’ premiere, as well as various competitions.  Helen is also an accomplished singing and actor, having played lead roles in several school musicals.

Since aspiring to continue dance through teaching, Helen was fortunate enough to be mentored in dance instruction from Director & Principal teacher of Shine – Vanessa Tota. Vanessa has equipped Helen with the skills necessary to pass on her knowledge and love of dance to her students – a task which she not only cherished, but consolidated her love for dance the more she has done it. Not only has Helen been a great teacher at Shine, she also has an intimate understanding of the way Shine operates as a business due to her other part-time role at Shine as our Receptionist

Roxane

Dance Instructor @ Shine Since 2024

Dip. Dance Teaching & Management

Roxane grew up in New Caledonia where dancing was in her blood.  She started her dance journey at a young age just like many of the students she now teaches.  Her connection with dance flourished as she soaked up as much Jazz, Ballet and Hip Hop as possible.  It still wasn’t enough though.  She took on more training in Contemporary, Lyrical, African, Swing, Salsa and Commercial dance styles. Roxane’s dream was to train to a level which would allow her to come to Australia to dance professionally and to expand on her already detailed CV.

At the age of 18, Roxane made it to Australia to complete a Certificate III/IV in Dance as well as a Diploma in Dance Teaching & Management.  Since then, Roxane has appeared on stage at several professional shows both here in Melbourne and back in her native Noumea.

All the while performing, Roxane began teaching dance to both children and adults.  It became clear that although she had an obvious talent for teaching, she really enjoyed the sense of satisfaction of imparting her extensive knowledge to students.  Roxane feels honoured to be able to educate the next generation of dance students at Shine.  She brings a very encouraging and positive attitude to her teaching style, and as such, is a perfect fit at Shine.

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Adrian

Director, Accounts & Administration

Vanessa’s right-hand-man in married and business life.  Adrian has been an integral part of Shine since its conception.  You will see Adrian in-and-out of the Studio every now and again, however his main role is behind the scenes.