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