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Stories From a Dance Career.....episode 10


We arrived back in Vienna on a whirlwind of emotions. My dreams were coming true and Marie-Claire's nightmare was staring her in the face.


I had just been promoted to Soloist in Vienna which had put a professional strain on our private lives and to make matters worse my soloist offer from San Francisco was going to provide me a status while Marie-Claire would have to return to the corps if we accepted which we would...the personal pain of staying in Vienna was too great for M-C to bear.


The look of anticipation on Manuel Legris' face when he asked me what I had been offered will always stick in my mind. I could tell at the time he was happy for what I had been offered but in retrospect I can see the sadness that was hiding behind what I can only describe as fatherly support.


The season was nearly over by the time we returned to Vienna. It was a to be a very special end to my time there. I received the honour of dancing The Angel of Death in Van Dantzig's Vier Letzte Lieder. It was a magical role which again mirrored the whirlwind direction life was taking.


I remember the performance of my last Nureyev Gala in Vienna to be one one of melancholy and elation. It seems that so often in my life the extremes of emotional spectrum are always felt together, perhaps that is the gift and curse of being an artist.


There was a standing ovation for me that evening, many tears and many well wishes. Photographs were taken and goodbyes were said. It was not until many years later that I realised, Marie-Claire was not in the photographs. As it turns out no one asked her to get in front of the camera. This will forever be one of my great regrets...she left the stage that night like she so often left parties, without fanfare or recognition, slipping gently into the shadows of darkened curtains.


And just like that our time in Vienna was over. For me it had been 7 years of experience the likes of which I would never again receive. Sure there would be more roles to dance and opportunities to seize, but nothing was ever really the same in my career after Vienna.


My young and ambitious eyes were turned to the future and the life I intended to build with my love in San Francisco. I held hope that they would see Marie-Claire's greatness and that they would quickly promote her to the soloist status I knew she deserved. Young ambition however is never fully realised and the journey for both M-C and I was only just beginning.

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