Marks of great­ness

Sunday Express - - Jennifer Selway -

AS A bal­let mad lit­tle girl one of the first pieces of use­less in­for­ma­tion that I trea­sured was that the great bal­le­rina Dame Ali­cia Markova was not Rus­sian but was born plain Ali­cia Marks in North Lon­don. When she joined the Bal­let Russes aged 14 its founder Sergei Di­aghilev made her change her name. Born in 1910 her life was an in­spi­ra­tion – a strug­gle against poverty, an­ti­Semitism, sex­ism, not be­ing thought pretty enough and (the peren­nial bat­tle of bal­let dancers) phys­i­cal pain. She was also a su­per­star, dwarf­ing to­day’s dance celebri­ties such as Darcey Bus­sell. A new book The Mak­ing Of Markova by Tina Sut­ton tells her story.

Dame Ali­cia has always been one of my hero­ines. She would have been a ter­rific judge on Strictly.

SCI­EN­TISTS say that wee­ing in the

sea is ben­e­fi­cial to ma­rine wildlife so you can wazz away with aban­don when you’re stand­ing up to

your waist in wa­ter look­ing non­cha­lant. Not that I ever have of course any more

than you… DE­LIGHTED to see Kate Bush fly­ing the flag for us crazy old birds and how re­fresh­ing to see a fe­male per­former on the front pages of the news­pa­pers who wasn’t wear­ing fish­net tights, dom­i­na­trix boots and a corset. Kate’s ma­jes­tic vel­vet kaf­tan or wizard robe (or what­ever it was) made the trussed-up tart look seem so tired. LAST week I ex­pressed deep fore­bod­ing about the future of the free cof­fees you get with a My Waitrose card. Im­me­di­ately the firm’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions direc­tor was in touch as­sur­ing me that the free cof­fee is ring-fenced, sacro­sanct and safer than the Bank of Eng­land. Ex­cept that, presently, both ma­chines in my nearby branch are out of or­der. Truly, the Lord giveth with one hand and taketh away with the other. WHEN fly­ing, there is no­body you de­test more than the stinker sit­ting in front who sud­denly re­clines their seat al­most break­ing your legs. The “knee de­fender” is a sneaky clip-on gad­get prevent­ing that and it re­cently led to a fight on a United Air­lines flight. Bad behaviour of course but the air­lines have only them­selves to blame for squeez­ing in more and more pas­sen­gers. There is sim­ply not enough room to tip your seat back on most econ­omy flights now. Oh, and the in­ven­tor of the knee de­fender? Ira Gold­man who is 6ft 3in. You feel his pain.

BAL­LE­RINA: Markova

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