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This article is taken from PN Review 15, Volume 7 Number 1, September - October 1980.

Introduction 'A Note on Abstract or Symphonic Ballet' Eric W. White

The first holiday my wife and I took abroad after World War II was a trip to Ascona in 1947. After dinner it was our custom to drink coffee at a local café facing the lake; and sometimes we would entertain ourselves by playing a game of chess with a miniature board and set of chessmen.

We were so engaged one evening when I realized we had become objects of scrutiny to our neighbour, a handsome middle-aged man, with a leonine head of hair, who was sitting at one of the tables reading the New Statesman. When the game came to an end, we entered into conversation and soon discovered we shared numerous subjects of common interest. Our talk circled round various matters connected with the arts, and suddenly I realized with a shock of surprise that the good-looking stranger could be none other than Adrian Stokes. At that time I was not familiar with Adrian's books on the arts, with the exception of his two popular books on ballet-To-Night the Ballet (1934) and Russian Ballets (1935)-but I knew enough about his current reputation to realize that here was one of the foremost critics of the age; and if fate had not thrown us together that evening on the shore of Lago Maggiore, I would have been far too nervous and diffident to approach him on my own initiative. But now the ice had been broken, our friendship made rapid progress. My wife and I visited Ascona ...


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