Memories: Kit Lethby

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Mary Queen of Scots brings back so many fond memories and in many respects 1976 only seems like yesterday, yet it was 22 years ago. This ballet occurred during a period when I was just gaining assurance and maturity as a dancer and artist. It was a bit like a new beginning and it helped shape the way I worked and performed later.

The ballet was dramatically intense with so many passions that to bring out and portray them all could have been one of its downfalls. There are so many angles that the ballet could have been taken from. Peter chose the romantic point of view - possibly to keep the audiences happy - but to also show the many faceted sides and complex issues that surrounded Mary Queen of Scots.

The score was bold, exciting and dramatically intense, it conjured up superb images of the turmoil and strife that beset the English and Scottish courts in the 16th century and Peter did it justice impeccably.

The role of Rizzio was a challenging and exciting one which I took to with relish. I was left to my own devices and intuition to play the role as I chose. Peter was always very trusting in his dancers and very rarely tried to impress on them a particular point of view. For this I was very grateful and based on the critical acclaim received was successful in the characterisation and portrayal of Rizzio.

Peter was never fully recognised or appreciated for his boldness and guts to step out of a conservative establishment to establish an exciting new and ground breaking company. That he fought for such a long period of time to establish his company and his beliefs can only be put down to his incredible resilience, his belief and care for his art, commitment to his company, love of his dancers and above all his integrity.

An untimely death that should not be forgotten, a great loss to the arts, and especially ballet.

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