The affair of the century - Telegraph
Rudolf Nureyev, onstage and off. Fonteyn went off to attend to domestic problems. (Her husband, a Panamanian politician, had been shot by. Chemistry: Nureyev and Fonteyn share a joke during rehearsals for Romeo and 'Our relationship works very well,' he told me one night in his dressing room. With his sensual good looks, Nureyev never had any trouble. Britain's first prima ballerina: Margot Fonteyn in a Royal Ballet film But it was her relationship with Rudolf Nureyev, which electrified her.
Adding planning meetings for a new dance syllabus and attending meetings of the Academy,  she was honoured as a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in Though they received top reviews,  she was criticized for performing, despite the dancers' union ban because of Apartheid. She was also criticized for performing for Imelda Marcos and was once detained for attending a party at which drugs were used.
She returned to Panama City to turn herself in,  hoping her surrender would help her husband. She offered Fonteyn the opportunity to dance with him in his debut, and though reluctant because of their year age difference, Fonteyn agreed. The press described their performance as otherworldly and The Observer called it a "knockout" and the pairing history-making.Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev in Swan Lake (1967)
A few days later, they performed Les Sylphides to rave reviews which were carried in United States newspapers. It became a signature work for the duo, sealing their partnership. Fonteyn, though shaken, danced in MacMillan's new pax de deux, Divertimento on 9 June, before flying home to Panama.
Though he was wheelchair-bound, Fonteyn, who was devoted to his well-being, took him with her on most of her travels. The performance was filmed  and Lord Snowdon took pictures for the 27 November issue of Life. Johnson in Washington, D.
Margot Fonteyn - Wikipedia
The audiences littered the duo with flowers, demanding repeated curtain-calls. Fonteyn's depth as an actor made the performance unique, making Juliet one of her most acclaimed roles. It was an abstract, modern production designed to emphasize Rudolf as a virile Adam and Fonteyn as a chic Eve. After the performance at The Kennedy Center, her tour went on to Brazil.
Her husband was still living  and Fonteyn was a very private person, as well as proper and fastidious. At the end of the evening, she was officially pronounced prima ballerina assoluta of the Royal Ballet.
Fonteyn and Nureyev remained close even after she retired to a Panama cattle farm with her husband. The small farmhouse near El Higowhich did not have a telephone, was in a remote village,   but she stayed in touch and the two occasionally performed together. She discovered that she had a real interest in raising cattle  and developed a herd of four-hundred head. But their first encounter, via telephone, as Fonteyn organised a gala for the Royal Academy of Dancing, was not propitious.
Their separate versions of the call do not tally.
According to Rudolf, Margot came on the line in person: Who could it be? It was a small voice — nothing imposing. Would you dance at my gala in London? Related Articles 11 Oct Colette: He says he wants to dance with you. Ask Vera if he is a good dancer.
Colette the next day: He sounds rather tiresome to me. They say he has such a presence he only has to walk on stage and lift his arm and you can see the swans by the lake. I think it would be wonderful if you could dance with Nureyev as well as Gilpin. The more I hear of him the worse he sounds. Rudolf, penniless, came to London on a secret three-day visit, posing as a Polish dancer, Zygmund Jasman.
He was to stay with Margot at the embassy in Thurloe Place [where she lived with her husband, the Panamanian ambassador Tito Arias], and she planned to send her chauffeur to meet him, as she was due to go to a cocktail party.
Two hours earlier than expected the telephone rang and she heard his voice for the first time. Forty-five minutes later, the phone rang again: Lindley, the driver, could not find him. She had expected him to be taller. I noticed the nostrils at once. There was just enough time for tea before she had to rush away. They had strong Earl Grey, without milk — a brew which they would drink together, over the years, in huge quantities; he set the immoderate tone by helping himself to five sugars. Suddenly he laughed and his whole face changed.
They were all so serious when we were there. Rudolf came at a time when we were afraid that Margot would disappear. It was very, very worrying — the partner means so much. Throughout this stage of her career she remained single. They honeymooned on his yacht in the Bahamas and returned to London so that he could take up a new post as Panamanian ambassador. It was Margot who bought the embassy building and paid to furnish and staff it.
It would transform her career prospects and also — if wagging tongues were to be believed — sweep her off her feet emotionally. There were obvious grounds for gossip when the year-old Russian moved into the embassy with Margot for the duration of rehearsals.
As far as some insiders were concerned, the speculation was entirely justified. She recalled Margot whispering something to Rudi one day, and his reaction was terrifying. I know that Rudi would have loved children.
Other friends and colleagues doubted that the intensity between them extended to the bedroom.