7 November 2021
Mirella Bartrip OBE passed away on Monday 1 November after a period of ill health.
Mirella made a significant contribution to the work of the ISTD. She trained as a teacher at the London College of Dance and Drama, gaining the College Diploma in 1970. Following the completion of her initial studies, she joined the college staff, at first part-time and then full-time, teaching mainly ballet, modern and some tap.
I was privileged to be one of Mirella’s students at London College when its home was in Marylebone Lane during the late 1970s and she really helped to shape my perception and understanding of what made a good teacher, something I was later able to try and model in my own teaching career. She brought vitality, an open demeanour and patient enthusiasm to every lesson, but she always pushed you to achieve your best and would be hot on your case if she ever thought you were taking it easy. Professionalism and commitment to dance were woven into her soul, but she was also a warm, kind and very thoughtful person who managed to successfully fuse being your teacher, your friend, and your confidante into one. She was the first person I would seek out whenever I was struggling or needed a shoulder to cry on and by the time I left London College she was such a huge part of my life that she even bothered to come to my 21st birthday party – she always loved a good party!
Mirella was a gifted professional and her talents were wide-ranging. She was a key member of the panel that wrote the first B.Ed. degree in Dance offered by London College in conjunction with Bedford College of Higher Education from 1980 and was team leader for the Contemporary Dance Studies Unit. She continued to play a key role on the London College staff after its move to Bedford, teaching on the Foundation, Diploma and Degree courses and this vast knowledge and experience provided the springboard for her incredible work in various roles at what is now Trinity Laban. You can read more about this here.
Mirella lived life doing what she loved best. Her legacy lives on through the work of countless numbers of former students whose lives she massively influenced, touched and injected with passion. I know I speak for them all when I say we have lost someone who was truly special to us.
Liz Dale, Director of Dance
(with thanks to Jacky Ferguson)