Brenda Last OBE becomes President of BBO
Brenda Last has become President of the British Ballet Organization (BBO), one of the world’s leading dance Awarding Organisations, promoting excellence in dance training and opportunities for all. Brenda takes over from former President, Dame Beryl Grey CH DBE, who sadly passed away in December 2022.
Brenda has worked closely with BBO for many years, contributing her knowledge and experience to a variety of projects. Brenda shares the values and ethos of the organisation and has inspired countless artists in her esteemed career. The team at BBO are delighted to welcome Brenda into this new role and are excited to continue working with her.
Brenda trained at the Royal Ballet School, and in 1957 was one of the founding members of Western Theatre Ballet, now Scottish Ballet. She later joined The Royal Ballet in 1963 and became Principal just two years later, as well as becoming Ballet Mistress and Répétiteur for the Company.
With over 50 years of teaching experience, Brenda has educated dancers from companies all over the world including, but not limited to: English National Ballet, Royal New Zealand Ballet, Australian Ballet and Noriko Kobayashi Ballet.
Alongside her teaching accomplishments, Brenda is an inspirational and wise voice in the dance industry. She was a Trustee of The Royal Ballet Benevolent Fund for 30 years and has been an Advisor for the Arts Council of Great Britain. In 2012 Brenda was awarded an OBE in The Queen’s Birthday Honours List for her services to dance and in 2017 she received the Jane Attenborough One Dance UK Industry Award.
Brenda has attended numerous BBO events, including the annual Dance Days event for students and teachers. She has also taught masterclasses for BBO, both in person and online, passing on her knowledge and love of dance to generations of young dancers.
BBO CEOs, Julie Bowers and Fiona Knower commented: “Brenda is a familiar face to so many of us and is truly one of the organisations most fervent supporters. So many of us have grown up with Brenda in the studio, welcoming us to Dance Days and taking the Senior Scholars programme. It is an absolute joy and delight to have her take on this role and we are humbled that she agreed to do so and continues to care so much for the organisation.”
Brenda commented on her appointment of the role:
“I am honoured to have been asked to become President of the BBO following in the illustrious footsteps of my predecessor, Dame Beryl Grey. My connection to the BBO goes back a very long way – to 1957 when ten dancers were gathered together by Elizabeth West and choreographer, Peter Darrell to form a new, innovative dance company, called Western Theatre Ballet.
It would be based in Bristol at a large BBO school with good facilities and when in London the rehearsals would be held at Eddie Espinosa’s Woolborough House in Barnes, which at the time was the headquarters for the BBO.
Through this very generous gift of studio space and rehearsal time by Eddie Espinosa, the new company was given full, free rein to develop. Without him this new venture would never have got off the ground or become the company which would eventually evolve into Scottish Ballet, now based in Glasgow.
I am so thrilled to be taking up this new role with an organisation with which I have been associated for so long and for which I have such affection.”
Visit https://www.bbo.dance/ to learn more.