Peter Darrell gave me my first dance job in 1975 when I was invited to join the rapidly growing Scottish Ballet Company as a first-year corps de ballet dancer. It was a proud moment.
I was twenty-five and had just graduated from the Rambert School in London, thinking I was going to be the new Rudolf Nureyev in no time at all. My illusions were shattered within a year by actually performing with Nureyev in the Murray Louis ballet, Moment and with Dame Margot Fonteyn in Darrell's ballet, Scarlet Pastorale.
The differences between them and me were only too apparent! In spite of this, Peter humoured me when I asked him whether I could get together a few of my colleagues and put on our own show in 1976. In the following years, Peter never stopped supporting me and my ideas. He encouraged me to choreograph, teach, direct, sent me on training courses and allowed me to do my own research work.
In 1980, at a low point in my work, he arranged a Scottish Arts Council travel bursary for me to visit America and look at how American dance companies worked. This precipitated a major crisis in my life as I was knocked over by the incredible energy of the New York dance scene. Within a year, I had abandoned ballet and set off to retrain and build a new career for myself in modern dance. Now, as the Director of Wales's international dance company Diversions, I like to think that Peter's friendship continues to inspire me in many ways. He taught me that dance should be great theatre and great passion as well as great fun. He taught me to laugh at my own vanities. Most important, he taught me to be my own person and walk my own path. I thank him for that and for caring for me as an individual. May he rest in peace, being so well remembered by so many.