Memories: Gordon Aitken

Ballet Master 1969-1979 Scottish Theatre Ballet; Assistant Artistic Director 1979-1988 The Scottish Ballet

Having signed my first contract with Scottish Ballet I had made it quite clear that I would no longer perform on stage.

My first day with my new company Darrell took me aside to tell me that he wanted me to do "a small walk-on part" in his new full-length Beauty and the Beast. It was not small and not much walking! Shortly after this Darrell started work on Tales of Hoffmann in which I was not cast. Before long however I was taken aside once more to be told about another "small" walk-on part. This turned out to be the Four Baddies and was to be the best role of my career. Peter could be very persuasive!

One schools matinee of Nutcracker in Aberdeen, Peter and I were at the back of the stalls when there was a sudden disruption during "French". It was at the time when "Everyone's a Fruit and Nut Case" was the popular advert. At first only a few children recognised the melody but it quickly caught on and in no time the entire audience had joined the sing-along. The more the teachers rushed about trying to keep the children quiet the louder they sang and the more Peter loved it. To his way of thinking at least the children had become involved in the performance. He so much wanted dance to be not a specialised art form but acceptable to everyone.