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Derek Rencher, Royal Ballet Stalwart, Dies at 82

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I was lucky enough to see Derek Rencher as Rothbart, many years ago, on my first ever visit to Swan Lake at the ROH. The way he moved around the stage in as I think I recall correctly, a rather spectacular full length cloak of peacock like feathers, was mesmerizing. I think Odette was Lesley Collier and Siegfried, David Wall. This was the kind of performance that made ballet magical.

Derek Rencher brought a huge but subtle stage presence to everything he did. He made Rothbart a real character and young as I was then, believably frightening and powerful. Completely unlike the rather absurd figure he is in the current production, hindered in no small part by the ridiculous costumes.

Edited by Jacqueline
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He made all his characters real and vivid. For me his best role was Monsieur GM in Manon (which he created) and it was very, very, sad when he had to give up dancing it. Although I rather took it for granted at the time, the 90's was mightily blessed with Principal Character dancers who started in the 1950's and 60's and who played a large part in defining RB dramatic style. Even now I still miss Rencher as GM, Gerd Larsen as Giselle's mother and Leslie Edwards Prince of Verona.


In Garry Avis and Genesia Rosato we have a 'new' generation - and talk to them and they all acknowledge what they learned from the likes of David Drew, Gerd Larsen, Leslie Edwards, Derek Rencher and others.

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  • 3 years later...
10 hours ago, alison said:

Walking through the cemetery at Baron's Court today, I noticed his grave, which was looking a little in need of some TLC, less than 4 years on, especially compared with nearby, lovingly tended, graves.  Rather sad, really.


But someone walked past his grave yesterday, and cared. Which matters more than its physical condition. So thank you, alison.

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It could be just a temporary blip on the part of the person/people tending his grave

I have to admit to not always being on top of the tiny plot ( ashes buried but roughly 2ft square plot) where my parents are in the lovely location of Rottingdean ( st Margarets) churchyard. 

Sometimes it's looking really nice ....especially in the Spring around birth/death anniversaries ....but I haven't  been there for over six months so it's probably not looking so good right now! 


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He was Monsieur GM in my first Manon in July 1974, and Don Quixote for me in June 1994. I remember him coming out of stage door with a little dog like a true diva and being delighted to be asked to sign that Manon programme 20 years later.

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