Today was our first day back at the iconic Sydney Opera House. It’s always great returning to our floating theatre, its grand white sails standing proud over the harbour. We open Swan Lake there on Friday 4 April and I will dance the Lead Hungarian. In later performances I will dance the Earl and I’m also understudy for the Prince.
Today I was also lucky enough to obtain some of the late Modesta Gentiles’ great book collection. Modesta was Dame Peggy van Praagh’s assistant and company manager of The Dancers Company. Among Modesta’s books there is a 1971 Australian Ballet program for Raymonda featuring guest artist Margot Fonteyn! I adore Margot and even have an autographed picture on my wall at home. I loved Margot and Nureyev’s sublime partnership. Nuryev is my all-time idol so I have far too many of his biographies. But I’m yet to track down an autographed picture. If you happen to have one make sure you leave a comment!
I seem to have built up a decent library of ballet literature. It was great to find a gem of a book entitled Borovansky Ballet in Australia and New Zealand. In its pages I came across my great dance coach Max Collis. Max was part of the Borovansky Ballet from its formation and in his later years, while suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, he would coach me (through through an interpreter and former dance pupil, Sandy Whitelaw). He taught me the honesty and drama of dance. As I sat by him in his final hours he gave me his greatest advice: “always be humble”, and as he slipped from this earth I knew that I had been blessed to have known this man. Remi