Royal Ballet

Under Kenneth MacMillan David moved into more mature theatric roles

He was still one of the strongest partners in the company, and the Royal Ballet school employed him as a pas de deux instructor. The roles David remembers are the theatric ones where without dancing he could still command an audience.

“One of the greatest challenges I witnessed was the audience at Covent Garden in London,” David recalls. “The audience was a CLUB. The same people came night after night, about 2000 of them. They thought they knew the ballets backwards and forwards. The were what we referred to as BALLET-TOMAINES. They had a fixed impression of what we were doing, and fought against anything which went outside their impressions.”As a result, the Royal Ballet was the most boring company in the whole world. There was not feeling, there was not expression, simply because if there was, that group who watched them all the time would rebel.

“That audience really did not know what to do or say when David Adams came on the scene, for he gave to the fullest in each performance.

“My favourite story in that area was after the first night of Manon by Kenneth MacMillan. In the first scene I was playing an old man who brings his young mistress to a party in the street. After delivering her into the arms of the waiting young men, I was instructed to sit at a table, order drinks, and get slightly drunk.

“I tried to underplay the scene as much as possible. I had no steps, just people to interact with ,so, I did my bit.

“After the performance, Georgiadis, the designer of the set and costumes came to me and asked what had happened in that scene. He had not seen any of the dance sections, for he could not keep his eyes off me.

“Monica Parker the dance notator also spoke to me. She was still laughing from what I had done with the scene. ‘was it too much Monica’ I asked. ‘no David, it was fantastic, but I could not watch anyone else’

“The same reaction took place with Kenneth, and when I asked him I should cut it back, he replied ‘no David, keep it, it is fantastic, the other people on the stage will just have to come up to the level of performing you have reached,’ “Time after time, ballet after ballet, the same thing happened, until some of it rubbed off.

“I remember vividly my performances of von Rothbart with the Royal. In the third act as I sat on the throne next to the Queen Mother, I would try to seduce her with my moves and expression. After all, if my daughter is going to win the day with the Prince, we would need some help from his Mother.

“Gerd Larsen just sat there dumbfounded. ‘What are you doing David?’ Right there on stage I explained why I was playing that way. She agreed that it was a good idea , but ‘Derek Rencher does not do that.’ After saying ‘but I am not Derek Rencher’ she sat back and enjoyed, the proceedings.

“Time finally won over that stick in the mud audience and dancers.

“That relationship between audience and performer is the whole reason for doing what we do.”