Assalamualaikum and greetings.
I am Mohd Hairul Nazmie Bin Talib and I am the Director of WindBreeze Dance Company. I am also a choreographer and dance teacher who hails from the small town in Sabah known as Kota Belud, also known as the town of Cowboys of the East.
First of all, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Asia Award, powered by RULA AWARDS, and the World Research Congress for honoring me and my dance troupe, WindBreeze Dance Company, with these prestigious awards. We are very honored and humbled by this recognition and acknowledgement for being awarded with the "Lifetime Achievement Award"-under the category of Asia’s Achievers Award and the "Asia’s Outstanding Coaching Academy Award"- under the category of Asia’s Coaching Award.
A little story about myself. I came from a typical Bajau Samah (one of the major ethnicgroups in Sabah) family, where most of the family members work in paddy fields and other traditional activities for living. I grew up in a family that really loved the arts, especially music. I have been exposed to music and dancing since a very young age. There will always be an excuse for them to gather all the family members and friends and they will play the traditional musical instruments or "betitik" as we call them in our local dialect. My late grandma was a very skilled traditional pandan mat weaver, called "Tipo". My aunts and uncles are very good at playing the traditional musical ensembles. Growing up with this influence has indirectly nurtured my interest in performing arts.
I started to play musical instruments when I was 8, when I joined the school's band team. At the age of 9, I could play most of the instruments and by the age of 10, I was the youngest Drum Major in our zone (Primary school level). My interest continued during secondary school when our school decided to participate in the Inter-school dance competition organized by the Education Department, and to everyone's surprise, we won the state level competition. Around this time, I also started joining freelance dance groups, where I performed regularly at various events in the city until I finished my diploma in Computer Studies.
My career as a dance teacher and choreographer started in 2001 when I was working as a relief teacher at one of the elite schools in Kota Kinabalu. Some of the teachers in the school know that I am a dancer, so naturally they have assigned me to train a few students for a dance performance at one of the school's events. And from there, I started to train the school dance team and we started participating in inter-school dance competitions in2001. We won the state level competition for the next few years.
In 2003, I decided not to continue my tenure as a relief teacher to become a full-time dancer with a government cultural board. During my two years as a full-time dancer, I have traveled to Japan, Korea, Brunei, and China on promotion tours.
After two years working as a full-time dancer, I got an offer to study for a Bachelor of Performing Arts (Dance) at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur.
While doing my Bachelor, I was very active in the university's activities as well as outside the university. I was the Vice-President of the University of Malaya cultural group (KESUMA in2005. I also participated in the International Conference on Traditional Music and the Asian Youth Cultural Forum as one of the facilitators. I am also actively involved in the arts festival at the University of Malaya. In 2006, I joined the dance team for one of the residential colleges at the University of Malaya and our team won the Malay Folk dance category that year. In 2007, our residential college won both the Malay Folk dance category and the Creative Dance Category, where I was one of the dancers and I was also the assistant choreographer. In 2008, I was one of the choreographers for our residential college and we won the Malay Folk dance category. I was also involved in numerous projects outside the university, such as the Puteri Gunung Ledang the Musical in 2006 as one of the ensembles, the Malaysia cultural parade-Citrawarna Malaysia in 2006, and a few theater staging as a crew member.
After I finished my Bachelor, I returned to Sabah and was hired as a dance teacher and choreographer at one of the secondary schools in Kota Kinabalu to prepare the dancers for the upcoming competition season. Under my tutelage, the school has won numerous local competitions and also international competitions.
In 2011, they competed in the Dance World Cup Final held in Paris. They won a gold medal for the Folklore or National categories and the Modern Contemporary category. One of my choreographies also won the Best Duo/Trio Award. I also won the "Most Innovative Choreography" award.
In 2012, the school competed again in the Dance World Cup Finals, which was held IN Austria, where they won another gold in the Folklore or National category and a Modern Contemporary category. I also won the "Most Innovative Choreography" award for the second time. After two successful years teaching and coaching, I made the decision not to continue my contract.
In 2013, I formed a dance group and competed in a national level competition. In that competition, we managed to win the coveted award of "National Dance Group Icon". Later that year, I decided to return to my hometown, Kota Belud, and established my own dance troupe, WindBreeze Dance Company.
The idea of WindBeeeze Dance Company was to offer the space and platform for young and talented dancers from rural areas in Sabah to learn about performing and to nurture their talent. WindBreeze Dance Company also aims to be a platform to promote Sabah’s unique culture and heritage, in particular, and Malaysia in general, through participation in international festivals and competitions around the world.
Founded in a rural area, with less equipment and facilities compared to other dance groups in the big cities, it never halted our spirits as a team. In fact, I guess that is what makes us stronger and determined to be better. We are really lucky to have the opportunity to work with PERSATUAN TOBILUNG BERSATU SABAH ( TOBISA ) as our patron for the Dance World Cup mission from 2014 until 2020. UNITED SABAH DUSUN ASSOCIATION (USDA) has collaborated with TOBISA as WindBreeze Dance Company patron in 2015 and 2016.
In 2014, WindBreeze Dance Company, under the patronage of PERSATUAN TOBILUNG BERSATU SABAH or TOBISA, qualified to represent Malaysia in the Dance World Cup Finals in Portugal. In the competition, WindBreeze Dance Company won 2 gold medals, 4 silver and 2 bronze. One of my choreographies was awarded "Best Overall Quartet", and what made that year's participation more special was when a dancer from WindBreeze Dance Company was chosen and awarded by the juries as the most outstanding performer. The dancer was offered a scholarship to study dance in Nice, France.
In 2015, WindBreeze Dance Company, again under the patronage of PERSATUAN TOBILUNG BERSATU SABAH or TOBISA, and UNITED SABAH DUSUN ASSOCIATION (USDA), qualified to compete in the Dance World Cup Finals. This time it is in Romania. The troupe won a few gold and silver medals. Once again, WindBreeze Dance Company has made Malaysia proud by winning the "Most Outstanding Award".
For the Dance World Cup Finals in 2016, which was held in the Channel Islands, WindBreeze Dance Company, won 2 gold medals, a bronze and the "Best overall Solo Greek/Ballet/Folklore" category.
In 2017, WindBreeze Dance Company won a Gold and a Bronze medal respectively, both in the Folklore or National category, and won the Dance Impact Competition during the Dance World Cup Finals in Germany.
In 2018, it was a busy year for WindBreeze Dance Company and TOBISA because we were competing in two separate international competitions. The events were the INTERNATIONAL CARAVAN CULTURE FESTIVAL in Poland and the Dance World Cup Finals in Spain. And as for 2018, me and TOBISA were given the trust and honor to be the representatives of the Dance World Cup in Malaysia and to be the organizers of the Malaysian Qualifier. This qualifier is to choose talented dancers to represent Malaysia in the Finals in Spain later that year.
As for the two international competitions, our choreographies won First Class awards for both the "National and Folklore" category and the "Modern and Contemporary" category in Poland. During the Finals in Spain, WindBreeze Dance Company won Gold and Bronze medals in the Folklore/National category and Modern Contemporary category.
In 2019 and 2020, we have successfully organized the Malaysian Qualifier for the Dance World Cup Finals in collaboration with the National Department For Culture and Arts.
As an artist, a dance teacher and a choreographer, I am always on the lookout for new challenges and opportunities for myself and my dancers to experience and to showcase our beautiful culture and heritage to the world. So in 2019, we have participated in the World Folk Vision in Russia and have won numerous First Class awards. It gives me great pride to see my dancers showcase their talent, our culture and win competitions. It was also one of my best moments so far when I was conferred with the "Order of Eurasia" by the Eurasia Economic Cooperation Organization. The award was for the recognition of my achievements and efforts in promoting Malaysian culture at the international level. Another international festival that we participated in was the Nomad Universe Games-the world’s largest ethno festival, which was held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We had a huge honor when we were invited to participate in the festival that involved almost 100 countries from all over the world. One of the huge moments was when our traditional house was selected among 3 out of 100 countries to be visited by the Saudi royalties and the President of the Nomad Universe Games himself.
In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic affected the world, including the performing arts scene, not only in Malaysia but all around the globe, but that did not stop us from keeping pushing forward and looking for more new ways to showcase our talents and our culture. Throughout 2020, we have participated in various virtual international festivals in Poland, Belarus, Malta, the Czech Republic, Puerto Rico, and a few other countries.
From the participation throughout the year, WindBreeze Dance Company has managed to win 2 Grand Prix prizes, numerous First Laureates, and a few special awards, such as the National Heritage Preservation Award, Festival Personality, and in December 2020, Benefits Fundajca from Poland awarded me with the Choreographer of the Year 2020 award.
And as for the year 2021, I am really extremely honored by these wonderful awards and I would like to dedicate this award to my family, dance family and friends who have always supported me along the way. To Mr. Muji Ampau, the President
of PERSATUAN TOBILUNG BERSATU SABAH, for always believing in me and my work and giving me the opportunity to work with TOBISA. To Mr. Ajijul Durasip and Mr. Asmara Rikun, thank you for always believing in my talent and potential. And finally, to Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Mohamed Salleh bin Tun Haji Mohamed Said, for his unrivaled support towards arts and youth activities.
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