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.
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 3 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 4 Julian Assange and Edward Snowden join piracy mogul Kim Dotcom’s political campaign in New Zealand
- 5 Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
Jihadi John': MI5 may have identified Isis militant who killed David Haines but options limited
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: Police will be on high alert on Friday whatever the result
David Haines beheading: David Cameron says Britain will hunt down Isis 'monsters' shown in video murdering aid worker
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke
£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Talent / Learning & Development Mana...
Up to £40,000: Ashdown Group: Standalone HR Manager role for an SME business b...
£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350 - £400 per ...