Memories: Moira Shearer

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I have two clear memories of Peter. First, with the Sadler's Wells Ballet in 1944, when two small boys joined us to play urchins in Robert Helpmann's ballet Miracle in the Gorbals. Their names were Stanley Holden and Peter Skinner and they enlivened our performances with much misbehaviour in the wings.

Then, in the early '70's when I lived in Edinburgh and Scottish Ballet was about to take shape, I met Peter Darrell for lunch. I recognised him instantly - the small boy's face and expression had barely changed and I fear I embarrassed him with my reminiscence.

Peter's forte was choreographic invention, especially in modern ballets. A perfect example was an early work, The Houseparty, based on Nijinska's Les Biches and using the same Poulenc score. It was created for Western Theatre Ballet and filmed excellently for television; the originality and dramatic effect greatly impressed me.

Peter achieved much with Scottish Ballet, turning his talent to full-scale classically based productions. But I always hoped that he would return to the sharply realistic style of his Houseparty and his tragically early death has robbed us of a unique modern gift. I shall always remember him with pleasure and admiration.

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