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A Few Barres

August 18, 1991

I am gratified by (reviewer) Deborah Jowitt's praise for my biography "Shadowplay," but in her undisguised zeal for citing minor errors, she made some of her own. To wit:

1. Jowitt questions my understanding of the British class system and its unsettling impact on Tudor. Yet he, indeed, bore a psychic burden for his poor origins. Not only did intimate friends in London attest to it, but he also changed his name from a simple English one (Cook) to nothing less than that of a royal line and, as a young man, he spent his last farthings for speech lessons to rid himself of the despised cockney accent.

2. I made no claim that Tudor saw "Sacre du Printemps," only that one of his ballets could be traced to its influence. Marie Rambert, his mentor, was Nijinsky's assistant on "Sacre" and had partially notated it--thus putting him on familiar terms with the genre.

3. The Hindu diety, Shiva, can, in fact, be both male and female, and a famous statue on Elephant Island near Bombay shows the god in a half-and-half state.

4. The use of the word recumbent was deliberate, referring to what the male principals at the Royal Ballet were forced to be while Nureyev usurped their roles.

DONNA PERLMUTTER, WESTWOOD

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