I was only fourteen and studying Dance at the Vacani School of Ballet in Knightsbridge in London. It was Christmas time and the school was participating in an annual ballet performance at La Scala Theatre in London in honour of the Lord Roberts Workshop Foundation. I was performing two solos, a Mazurka by
Chopin and another classical variation representing the Shamrock from Ireland, the music I am afraid escapes me.
The guest of honour was Dame Beryl Grey and we were all very excited as we were going to meet her after the performance. The senior students were all lined up on stage to be presented to Dame Beryl and when my turn came Dame Beryl stopped to talk to me. She praised my style especially in the Mazurka and then went on to give me precious advice which I took very seriously and kept to my heart. She told me that I was to practice tendues and degages rigorously every day if I wanted to become a good dancer, as neat and strong footwork are a must for a classical dancer.
This encounter and her advice inspired my teaching. I had the good fortune to meet Dame Beryl again years later and took the opportunity to invite her to the 25th Anniversary of my Ballet Academy in Malta.
Dame Beryl Grey accepted and attended accompanied by her husband Dr Sven Gustav Svenson. Whilst in Malta she gave master classes and lectures on dance and graciously accepted to become Patron of Tanya Bayona Princess Poutiatine Academy of Ballet. We have always kept in touch and Dame Beryl has followed my career. I will always remember Dame Beryl as a beautiful dancer, an inspiring teacher and a very gracious lady.