OBITUARY: PETER BRINSON
Saturday 08 April 1995
This fount of expertise about the dance world, and of what he modestly referred to as the politics of dance, was ever generous with advice if asked and ever eager to absorb new information. He had a long, grateful memory for small attentions paid to him. Very clear about his own principles, he was not argumentative in conversation, always interested in what others had to offer. "I learnt so much" was a favourite comment. He was capable of friendship without a competitive edge. He did others the honour of assuming a seriousness of dedication equal to his own.
His sense of mission seemed to come from a quiet recognition of his own abilities and, hence, his responsibilities to dance and to society. His fortitude and his will-power were inspiring. After a long and exhausting plane trip to Australia to be the keynote speaker for a major conference on dance policy, his weakened body required hospitalisation for blood transfusions; yet he came back full of keen interest in what he had seen and learnt. And the incident did not stop him from travelling to South Africa on another mission soon after, as apartheid collapsed. He was consultant on dance to at least six Commonwealth governments and their arts councils and wrote a position paper on dance for the Labour Party before the last general election.
His respect for dancers' talent and hard work was evident in the obituary articles for he wrote for the Independent with such penetration, balance and tact, including pieces on Peggy van Praagh, Margot Fonteyn, Kenneth MacMillan and Rudolf Nureyev. He was a graceful writer, as he was a graceful thinker. He had a clear vision of the importance of dance to society. He cared deeply about dancers' welfare; as recipient of the prestigious Digital Dance Award, in 1992, he used their award money to develop a pilot scheme for a national dancers' injury and health service embracing all styles of dance.
His life was full of surprising accomplishments, of which he spoke infrequently and quietly. When he brought an unusual and fine British wine as a present, it might come out that he had at one time been wine correspondent for a leading London newspaper. Or he might remark that in the army he had traversed the entire battlefield of El Alamein in order to deliver a message; and 50 years later he would describe the whole panorama. The rapt listener thought of Prince Andrei at Austerlitz in War and Peace.
A convivial man and widely read, he could talk illuminatingly on any topic. One likes to remember him in the comfortable fine old house, in south London, that he shared with his friend and constant support, Werdon Anglin; to remember him in their garden when it was full of friends, flowers, cats, excellent food, wine and conversation. Surrounded by an ailing neighbourhood, the house stood physically embattled like Peter Brinson himself and yet, like him, a fortress of peace, good will and good work.
Peter Brinson, dance administrator, writer, lecturer: born Llandudno 6 March 1923; Founding Director, Ballet for All 1964-72; Director, Royal Academy of Dancing 1968-69; Director, UK and British Commonwealth Branch, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation 1972-82; Chairman, Inquiry into Dance and Education 1975-80; Chairman, Dance Board, Council for National Academic Awards 1975-84; died London 7 April 1995.
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Professional big game hunter Ian Gibson crushed to death by elephant during hunt
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
Yemen crisis: Meet the child soldiers who have forsaken books for Kalashnikovs
Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
Professional big game hunter Ian Gibson crushed to death by elephant during hunt
Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This privately-owned company designs and manuf...
£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen at th...
£36000 - £40000 per annum + Bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...