Date of Birth: 20th May, 1988
Where do you live: London
Star Sign: Taurus
Main occupation: Professional Dancer
Media-related occupation: Dancer
Brenda Lee is currently in her second year working for Rambert, Britian’s national company for contemporary dance, which is based in London. During her first year with the company, she has enjoyed performing and touring works and new creations by Alex Whitley, Ashley Page, Merce Cunningham, Christopher Bruce and Mark Baldwin OBE.
Preceding this, Brenda Lee spent six years with the Scottish Ballet performing a variety of roles from classical, neoclassical to more contemporary works. She has toured extensively in the UK, America, Asia and Russia, and has been part of festivals such as the Northrop Festival in Minnesota, Hong Kong Arts Festival, Edinburgh International Festival and the Chekhov International Theatre Festival (Russia).
Brenda Lee holds a First Class B.A. Hon. Degree in Professional Dance and Performance which she achieved during her year with the Central School of Ballet in London.
In 2005, Jean Charles Jil offered Brenda Lee to join his company, Ballet d’Europe, in Marseille as an apprentice after having worked with him in Malta on a creation for the Malta Dance Council members. La Scuola di Ballo del Teatro alla Scala in Milan was Brenda Lee’s first experience of full time training. After completing her O Levels, she moved to Italy to start her dance training with this prestigious school. The Malta Dance Council awarded Brenda Lee an Outstanding Achievement award in 2005 and a scholarship to Tring Summer School (UK) in 2001.
How did you fall in love with dancing?
Like most young girls, I would enjoy dancing around at home and nothing got me more hooked to the television than Shirley Temple movies. Her tap dancing mesmerised me. At the age of five, I was part of the Żejtun Band for l-Isfilata tal-Karnival, but then it wasn’t until I turned ten that I started taking ballet classes. A dance school had opened in Żejtun and I was very much interested in taking Latin American dance classes, but since they only offered ballet lessons, I thought I’d give it a shot. I didn’t know much about ballet, but I soon came to love it. I was also curious about other styles of dance, so I tried jazz, tap and Spanish dance. I guess everyone has their inner dancer. I was lucky enough to make my passion my profession.
Where do you want to take your dancing?
I’m always striving to work on my versatility and I challenge myself to be a well rounded artist, but I guess I am more intrigued as to where dance will take me rather the other way round.
What support systems would you like to see for the local dance scene?
Firstly I would like to mention how unfortunate it is that the Dance Council Malta had to come to an end in November 2014. The Dance Council stood for everything that we need to work for with regards to dance on our island. I guess the local councils could get more involved in creating opportunities for artists to showcase their talents. Tislima Sajf, an annual summer show that is held in Żejtun, gave me the opportunity to develop skills that I found useful later on in my career. It would be good to see more of these nights of entertainment.
Schools could also help with promoting the arts. At Carlo Diacono Junior Lyceum in Żejtun, I was part of the gymnastics and the drama team, and I will always cherish what I had learnt there. It’s not just about teaching students dance training. We also need to educate them on how to appreciate dance and the arts in general. It is very exciting that in September 2012, a national sports school had been set up. How about a national dance academy or perhaps that dance could be integrated into the curriculum of the national sports school? After all, Albert Einstein had said that “dancers are the athletes of God”.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
I would like to explore other areas within the performance and art industry, and hopefully take on more of a leadership role within a cultural institute. I would also love to have a family.
Do you have a hobby on which you spend money?
Sewing. On my 23rd birthday, I was given a sewing machine by some friends. I was living in Scotland at the time and on rainy Sunday afternoons (most Sundays, that is!), if I wasn’t sewing my point shoes, I would occupy myself with a sewing project. There’s a shop in Glasgow called Mandors where I used to often go to buy fabric or haberdashery. Since I’ve moved to London, I have less opportunity to sew as most of my time is spent going to see performances or the latest exhibitions.
What do you think is your best asset and why?
My best asset is perseverance through adversity. Life is full of obstacles and it’s about having the mental capability to overcome hardship and to keep moving forward. The career of a dancer is so short and time is precious and can’t be wasted.