|Roger M A||=||Jennifer (Grey)|
|Major Royal Marines|
|Bryony J St J||James R B St J, B Eng MechEng(Hons)|
|1= Skev Theodorou
2= Ian McCorquodale in Hatfield
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|= Lisa (Bocking) BSc(Hons)|
|December 2, 2015(55)|
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NUREYEV SWEPT ME OFF MY FEET
Men, it must be said, have always been drawn to Bryony Brind. There she was, at 21, a graduate of the Royal Ballet School and a rising star in the Royal Ballet's corps de ballet, when in walked Rudolf Nureyev. Suddenly she was in his arms and he'd swept her right off her feet...right off her feet and almost out into the wings, because she was lighter than he expected and he must have clung to her tutu for grim life. This was in their first performance together, which was in - help - 1981, 1982? Chronology isn't a strength, says Brind, as she sits very upright on a leather sofa, wearing a cap and a fair amount of slap in preparation for the night's performance. She left the Royal Ballet in 1988, and is more of an actress than a dancer these days, appearing most recently in Luxuriate Anonymously at Chetsea's Man in the Moon theatre. She was once named one of the most beautiful women in London and, despite the cap and the slap, there is no denying her equine grace or the hint of Nureyev in her cheekbones. Her obvious fragility appealed to the great dancer. 'Rudolf didn't like fat dancers,' she says. 'He wasn't terribly strong.' She is speaking, of course, of Nureyev in the autumn of his career. He had defected from the Soviet Union in 1960, the year Brind was born. 'He was, in my mind, this magical person, this person I'd seen dance, obviously, and worshipped from afar, never dreaming anyone my age would ever get to dance with him, apart from on the same stage in the corps de ballet.'
Yet there he was, in 1981, looking for someone to partner him in La Bayadere, and she had just had this huge success in a one-off elevation from the corps de ballet to the principal role in Swan Lake. 'He had his spies out,' says Brind, who will be sharing memories such as these with a select audience of YOU readers next month at a special Nureyev tribute concert to be given by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in aid of the British Red Cross (see ticket offer on the opposite page).
They didn't practise much together. Their first rehearsal, for which Nureyev arrived fresh from the airport, totally relaxed, was filmed by Omnibus: 'I had to sit there while he did an interview with that man who's the film critic...ah...help...Barry Norman.' Norman asked Nureyev why he had chosen to dance with Bryony Brind. 'He said, "She is the best bet. I have come back to this bucket of s**t." He was very disillusioned with the Royal Ballet.' There was a second rehearsal, then the performance which was on a Saturday. 'I had four acts of Swan Lake in the afternoon as a corps de ballet dancer. I was one of the pas de dbuze in the first act, one of the big swans in the second, a fiancee in the third and a swan again in the fourth. Matinees don't come down until about five. I had an hour before La Bayadere. He said [she goes for the accent], "Tis good, 'tis good. No nerves. You're exhausted. No nerves."' Then he all but tossed her off stage.
She partnered him several tim in the four or five years that followed - 'Don't ask me whicl years they were.' There was Young Apollo and Prodigal Son. She liked Prodigal Son best because her dominatrix role w an interesting reversal. 'And h created a ballet for me, The Tempest. I was Miranda.' She remains mesmerised by Nureyev. He was, she says, electrifying, totally charismatic full of intelligence, a huge character, one of those people who only come along once in a blue moon.
'He used to say, "You jump, I bring you down. You turn, I stop you." He always had his eye on you. When you were in the same room you knew he was always watching.' He became her teacher, her critic, a father figure, and, when they had danced together a lot, her friend. 'I always remember he found this boy out sailing near his island [Li Galli, off the coast of Naples] who was going back to England the next day. He made a point of saying, "Telephone Bryony and go and look after her." This boy had exactly the same birthday as me. We had a short relationship.' She isn't comfortable on the subject of relationships. Despite her allure, she has not been lucky in love. For seven years she lived with Ashley Page, the Royal Ballet's principal dancer and choreographer, but left the relationship bruised and frail.
The love of her life was a childhood friend whom she re-met and would have married had he not died six years ago in a climbing accident. She still grieves for him, though says their relationship has grown since the death. She nurtures her spiritual side. It isn't the sorrow that makes her uncomfortable, however; it's the gossip. People will persist in linking her to other women's husbands. To Prince Michael of Kent, in particular. Her face glazes at the mere mention. Her smile freezes and words desert her.
She doesn't deny that he's a friend. Talk of a relationship, however, came from nowhere, she says. And nothing ended, contrary to popular report, because there wasn't a relationship to end. 'Friend, yes. We still are. But obviously you don't want to put the other person in a difficult position and the other person doesn't want to put you in a difficult position. There's also been talk of me and Nick Allott,' she volunteers of the estranged husband of Anneka Rice. She knows about stories being invented and so on. She saw it all happen with Rudolf.
SEE THE NUREYEY TRIBUTE - AT A REDUCED PRICE
We have 150 tickets for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra's Salute to Nureyev Royal Gab Concert next month available to YOU readers at a specially reduced rate. The concert, conducted by GermadyZalkowitsch, is in aid of the British Red Cross and takes place at the Barbican Hall, London, at 730pm on 14 January. The pixjgrdmmc includes music by Stravinsky, dazunovand Prokofiev -featuring violin soloist JojiHattori-a talk on Nureyev given by the dancer widely regarded as his successor, Irek Mukhamedov, and a narration by actress San Phiffips to accompany a performance of Prokofiev's Romeo ondyufiet. The special YOU ticket also includes a pre-concert talk by Bryony Brind. Tickets cost £20 (normal price £25). To apply, complete the coupon below or telephone the box office on 0181-372 3576. Tickets will be sold on a first come, first served basis. Further information and general ticket enquiries on 0171-638 8891.
At 22, Bryony Brind is a rising star of classical dance. She talks to Jan Murray about her life of pain and total dedication
...ONLY WHEN I DANCE
Bryony Brind drags herself out of bed for morning class each day, and must then rehearse until early or late afternoon. And on performance days there is also a later warm-up. "I never know a day without pain," she says, "except for the first class after I've been on holiday when I feel so loose and oiled. By the second day back, your muscles realise what you're doing to them and get very sore.
"But that's what ballet is about, or partly: going through that pain to achieve something in performance. To stretch the body fully is supposed to be one of the nicest sensations there is. I always hurt, but there is that wonderful physicality."
To attain her status of soloist in the Royal Ballet, already performing with Rudolf Nureyev, has meant that her short life has been entirely dedicated to the art of the classical dance. Brind began her training as a toddler and will continue the daily grind until injury or a change of heart draws her away from that hermetic world.
The Royal Ballet is a living museum of the great classics, and is deeply con-servative. It has produced some mag-nificent ballerinas during its half-century - Dame Margot Fonteyn, Nadia Nerina, Merle Park, Lynn Seymour and Antoinette Sibley - but there has been a hiatus for almost a decade, during which no new names of international standing have emerged. Now, under the artistic direction of Norman Morrice, the em-phasis is again on the younger genera-tion. At least a dozen up-and-comers, men and women, have been given the opportunity to display their mettle and of these it is Brind and her live-in lover, Ashley Page, who have command-ed the most attention and the warmest audience support.
At 20, Brind won the 1981 Society of West End Theatre Award for "the out-! standing first achievement of the year in I ballet", based on her brilliant debut in (the double role of Odette/Odile in Swan | Lake. Ironically, all she can remember of ithat crucial first performance was the : pain involved. "I fell down the stars just (before my debut and landed on my coccyx. I bruised it so badly I was convinced I'd broken my spine. It looked like I wouldn't be able to dance, but I thought it would be dreadful not to get out on stage after all the publicity and interest. Everybody said I'd forget the ;pain during performance because of adrenalin flowing or whatever, but I didn't. My first entrance was a jete and I immediately went into spasm. It was agonising."
Because of the hierarchical casting common to all establishment/dance in-stitutions, Bryony didn't get a proper crack at that key role for another year, and second time around the critical reception was rather more chary. Mean-time, however, she was given a challen-gingly varied series of parts which tested her ability to switch from modern works like Jerome Robbins' sensuous duet, Afternoon of a Faun (which she danced opposite Ashley Page), and Glen Tet-ley's taxing Dances of Albion, to the 19th-century purity of La Bayadere with Nureyev.
Nureyev is notorious for his savagery towards experienced dancers who fail to cope with his demands - and for his kindness and sympathetic coaching to fledglings. Brind says of Nureyev, with unthinking condescension, "It was like dancing with your teacher. We only had two rehearsals and he was as nervous as I was. I don't know how he manages with all that constant travelling and commuting between performances in different countries. I'm sure it can't be good for him."
Like most Royal Ballet dancers, Brind comes from a middle-class back-ground and enrolled as a boarder at the Royal's Junior School, White Lodge, when she was 11. After initial pangs of homesickness she felt relieved that "everything I wanted to do was concen-trated in the same place". "Everything" meant at least two hours of dance technique every day, with sufficient academic emphasis to ensure that Bryony managed seven O-levels. When she graduated to the Upper School in Baron's Court she ignored the opportunities to study for A-levels because "there was simply no time to take exams and became a good dancer".
The body is a dancer's instrument and God-given proportions can radically affect the potential of a professional career. Bryony is one of the blessed, being naturally slim to the point of scrawniness and with exceptionally long legs. She is not unusually tall ("168.5, whatever that means in feet and inches") but the combination of those elongated limbs and a pronounced facial bone structure which projects through the vastness of the opera house, result in her commanding theatrical presence. Her physique makes her ideally suited to contemporary ballets, which often rely on an angular clarity to define the movements, but she is determined to succeed in the "bread and butter" classical roles, if only to prove she has the technical ability.
Is the slog and the insecurity worth it? Bryony is convinced that it is, if only for the time being. "Everyone used to say to me, 'Oh, you're so lucky, because you know what you want to do'. I never went through a personality crisis as a teenager because there didn't seem to be any choice involved. Maybe when I'm a bit older I'll think about something other than the ballet. I'm loving it now, and loving being so busy, even though I know that every new role is a test and they could easily just throw me away. All I can do is to get through each day and not ask too many questions. If I don't get enough work, then I'd have to think about leaving. That's why I'm here, I guess, to dance.
"Ask me in a couple of years why I'm a dancer, and whether I do it for myself or for the audience, and maybe I'll have some answers."
Already Bryony, who turned 22 in May, has deep, vertical lines etched between her delicate, ballerina's eyebrows.
Look, probably 1983 or 1984.
|"All I can do is to get through each day and not ask too many questions". With great single-mindedness, Bryony Brind has worked hard towards stardom since the age of 11 when she joined the Royal Ballet School. The rewards have been to star in Swan Lake and to dance with Rudolf Nureyev.|
|Stars' restaurant fined for false organic claim
By Nigel Reynolds, Arts Correspondent
Last Updated: 7:11am GMT 19/12/2006
One of London's most fashionable restaurants, used by film stars and members of the Royal family, has become the first in the country to be fined for falsely claiming that meat used in a number of its dishes was organically farmed.
Julie's Restaurant, first a favourite of Sloane Rangers and then of a bohemian film clique, was said by one food critic to 'reek of sex'
Julie's Restaurant and Bar was fined £7,500 after its managing director, Johnny Ekperigin, admitted three offences under the Food Safety Act 1990.
The restaurant, in Holland Park, west London, quickly became an institution-- initially with the Sloane Ranger and ''Hooray Henry" crowds and latterly with a more bohemian film set-- since opening in 1969. It was named after the 1960s interior designer, Julie Hodgess.
Prince Charles, nowadays a vigorous champion of organic food, is believed to have been a regular diner when he was a bachelor and Captain Mark Phillips held his stag night at Julie's, which boasts a warren of private dining rooms.
With French colonial furniture and sumptuous divans, it is popular for both stag nights and first dates among with London's elite and, according to one food critic two years ago, "the whole place reeks of sex". Prince Michael of Kent is said to have taken the one-time Royal Ballet principal dancer Bryony Brind, with whom he developed a close friendship, to their first dinner there.
Now, according to the restaurant's website, patrons include Gwyneth Paltrow, Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell.
West London magistrates court was told that Julie's claimed three of the dishes on its menu-- marinated roast chicken, sausages and spice-crusted rack of lamb-- used organic produce. But environmental health officers on a routine visit seized delivery records and discovered that none mentioned that the meat came from organic sources.
Environmental health officers from Kensington and Chelsea council estimated that Julie's saved £4,184 by buying chicken that had not been produced organically.
Mr Ekperigin, who was also ordered to pay £4,297 costs, was warned that he faced a prison sentence if he was brought before court again on similar charges.
But he denied that he had used non-organic meat in an attempt to save money. He told the court: "It was purely a mistake and I had taken my eye off the ball."
The Soil Association, one of the approved bodies for certifying organic produce, said it thought the prosecution was the first of its kind. But Steve Belton, its inspectorate director, said he believed that there was "a growing problem" of restaurants taking advantage of the public's interest in organic food and he called on local authorities to carry out more inspections.
Fiona Buxton. a Kensington and Chelsea cabinet member for public and environmental health, said: "For many visitors to the restaurant this has led to a betrayal of lifestyle. Consumers buy into the idea of organic food either due to the health implications or in support of good animal husbandry. Julie's Restaurant has cheated them of these values."
|See also Brind back on bridal path|