Marisha Bonnici: ‘Writing farewell letters to my students pursuing dance international brings tears to my eyes’

Never give up: Seed Dance Studios’ artistic director Marisha Bonnici talks about facing challenges rather than seeing closed doors

Marisha Bonnici
Marisha Bonnici

Seed Dance Studios’ artistic director Marisha Bonnici studied performance studies and received numerous scholarships before focusing on teaching dance. She is a teacher at the Malta Visual and Performing Arts School and worked towards the setting up of the O-Level dance syllabus alongside other teachers. Her passion for education and dance is the driving force behind her role as teacher and mentor

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Pray, sort my emails and plan my day.
 
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Think globally – act locally.

What do you never leave the house without?

My phone.

Pick three words that describe yourself

Driven, grounded, relentless.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

I believe all achievements are great, no matter how small. My school is definitely a big achievement, as are all the student successes throughout these years.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Chocolate.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

To remain grounded at all times and work to succeed in your own path. Take on the challenges and not waver and enjoy the gifts and blessings in simple things.

Property and cars aside, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?

A painting, however I prefer spending my money on travelling!

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?

That obstacles are only stepping stones.

Who’s your inspiration?

Many people inspire me daily. From my students, who show such love for what they do, to many teachers who ooze passion for dance and in turn continue to fuel my passion. To my grandmother who has always showered us with so much love and care and to my parents for their tenacity and support.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Pursuing my dream and opening up a home for dance students. For me Seed was and still is a big challenge because it is home to many students who love what they do and have to be well supported and cared for.

If you weren’t the artistic director of Seed Dance Studios, what would you be doing?

No clue! Never really thought about it as Seed is my happy place and can’t really imagine not doing what I am currently doing.

Do you believe in God?

Yes. When I see all my blessings, how could I not?

If you could have dinner with any person, dead or alive, who would it be?

My cousin, Kevin, who passed away when he was 17. I would want the chance to say a proper ‘goodbye’, but more than anything he was such a ‘savour the moment’ guy that it is something I remember being impressed by at a young age. A chance to listen to his advice would be nice. Having said all this, I think if I could have a dinner with Kevin I would want it to be a full cousin reunion!

What’s your worst habit?

Checking my emails.

What are you like when you’re drunk?

I don’t drink.

Who would you have play you in a film?

Jennifer Lawrence.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

People who are uncommitted and fail to see things as challenges rather than closed doors.

What music would you have played at your funeral?

Anything really – as long as there is a harp and violin. It would have to be Christian music though; I’m not a fan of other songs being played in church.

What is your most treasured material possession?

My wedding ring.

What is your earliest memory?

I have fond memories of spending time with my family in Bidnija or St Paul’s Bay. We would go on hikes and long boat rides and have sleepovers at my grandparents. I loved riding Roger, my grandfather’s horse, and playing in the treehouse. It was like a mini-party every week! I obviously remember the long hours in the studio and watching my mother teach. I used to love seeing all the students walking in and seeing the ‘big’ ballerinas. It was such a treat!

When did you last cry?

A couple of days ago as I was writing farewell letters to some of my students who will be pursuing dance studies internationally. It brings me joy but also tears to my eyes as I know it is time for me to let them fly.

Who would you most like to meet?

The Pope. Cliché - I know. But the truth is I find him so engaging and caring, so in touch with people and so ready to share love. I would definitely ask him for a quick prayer.

What’s your favourite food?

Sushi.

Who’s your favourite person on social media right now?

Honestly – no clue! I love following the SHE group, anything to do with YAGP and I must admit I enjoy the quick reads of Lovin’ Malta. I could also chuck in Pauline and Tez... that’s because I think both women are great and lovely.

If you could travel in time, where would you go?

Forward for sure! Maybe I would fast forward to 20 years’ time. Just to get a sneak peek of life.

What book are you reading right now?

‘Talent Is Never Enough’ by John C Maxwell.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

To be in two places at the same time!

What’s one thing you want to do before you die?

Haven’t really thought about this!

What music are you listening to at the moment?

Abbi Cura Di Me, by Simone Cristicchi.

In the shower or when you’re working out, what do you sing/listen to?

Usually a tune of one of my choreographies.

TELL US...

What was the motivation behind Seed Dance Studios?

Seed Dance Studios is a home to students who love dance. It is a place for students to grow and share the passion of dance whilst engaging in long lasting friendships. Seed Dance Studios is committed to looking beyond our shores and seeking the best possible opportunities for its students.

What advice would you give anyone interested in dancing professionally in Malta?

Seek out good and professional advice. Find a school which encourages and nurtures dancers to work towards a solid foundation and supports students’ growth. Be committed and passionate towards the art form and be prepared to overcome any adversaries.

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