Maude Lloyd, born in 1908, died 0n 26 November. She had enjoyed two remarkable careers: the first as a dancer in the early years of British ballet, when she was the muse of choreographers such as Anthony Tudor and Frederick Ashton; the second as a dance critic with her husband Nigel Gosling, under the joint pen-name of Alexander Bland.
Through dance writing, books as well as reviews and articles for The Observer , she became good friends with many famous people in the arts, most notably Rudolf Nureyev. They met in 1962 when he first danced with Margot Fonteyn, after defecting from the Soviet Union. He forever after regarded Maude and Nigel as his London family.
Maude Lloyd came to Britain from South Africa in 1925, sent to Marie Rambert’s school on a scholarship.
Although the plan was for Maude to return to Cape Town as a qualified ballet teacher, Rambert enlisted her as a founder member of the Ballet Club, soon to become the Ballet Rambert.
Maude’s collaboration with Anthony Tudor resulted in some of his finest ballets, such as Jardin aux Lilas ( Lilac Garden) in 1936, and Dark Elegies (1937). She was also in many of Frederick Ashton’s ballets.
When she retired from dancing in 1941, having married Nigel Gosling two years previously, she had been co director of Tudor’s London Ballet.
Her son Nicholas was born in 1943, and on Nigel’s return from the war, they moved into their house in Kensington, providing a hospitable refuge for many friends and dancers, including Nureyev. He loved Maude, as did all her friends, for her warmth, understanding and tolerance.
She had a gift for making friends of all ages. Young people confided in her and the older generation enjoyed keeping in touch. Maude’s final contribution to British ballet was the insight she provided for dance historians and biographers, drawing on her vivid recollections of the great figures she had known so well.