“I did not always have such amiable relations with the notoriously temperamental Rudolf Nureyev.
I had been commissioned to write the biography of ballerina Dame Beryl Grey, then artistic director of London Festival Ballet (now English National Ballet), and as a result was given unprecedented access to the company, including watching Nureyev create his opulent new production of The Sleeping Beauty.
When I attempted to interview the fiery Russian in his dressing room after one turbulent afternoon rehearsal session, he flung his jockstrap at me shouting: ‘Big interview finished!'
When we next met, a smile of recognition flashed across those chiselled Tartar features. ‘I remember you,' he said. ‘You are the dresser for Festival Ballet!' It was as much of an apology as I was likely to get.”
Photo: Nureyev in 1973, © Allan Warren
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.