When Rudolph Nureyev prepares to dance, he apparently needs red meat. At Tuesday's opening night performance of the Paris Opera Ballet's "Swan Lake" at the Kennedy Center, Nureyev, the troupe's artistic director, was in a supporting role that required little dancing. After the performance he went with the company to the French ambassador's residence, and although he had a couple of beers, he didn't eat because he spent most of his time talking. He was his usual feisty self. When one reporter asked him about being a great athlete, Nureyev stopped him before he could end the question and said, "I am not an athlete. I am a great artist."

* Because he was dancing the principal role in "Swan Lake" last night, he told his friends he had to have a pan-fried steak. Nureyev and his friends Douce Francoise, Teddy Westreich, Victor Shargai and Robert Tracy went to the Georgetown Bar and Grill, which kept the kitchen open until 2 a.m. so Nureyev could build his strength to dance. While in town, Nureyev has been spending time at Woodburn, his farm near Leesburg that he bought six years ago. He has often said he plans to make it a more permanent residence, with a dance studio in the barn. His friend Tracy, who lives at Nureyev's Dakota apartment in New York, has been staying at the farm. Tracy, in a tribute to Nureyev's 25 years in the West, has produced a book at the dancer's request: "Prowling the Pavements," a collection of 30 years of the selected art writings of the late London Observer critic Nigel Gosling, who also wrote under the name of Alexander Bland. Bland wrote about Nureyev and was a special friend. Out and About

Rep. Dan Rostenkowski has lost his license to drive in his home state. The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee had entered a guilty plea to drunk driving charges in Wisconsin, and under a reciprocal agreement the Illinois Democrat loses his right to drive in Illinois for one year starting July 29. He paid a $555 fine on the charge last month in Wisconsin. His staff said yesterday that there would be no comment . . .

Hospital report: Sen. Barry Goldwater was admitted to Walter Reed Army Hospital with abdominal pain yesterday, but his aides said tests found that he only had indigestion and would be released from the hospital today after a series of blood tests. The 77-year-old Arizona Republican was admitted to Walter Reed at 4:30 a.m. after waking with stomach pains. Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole joked that he thought Goldwater had awakened early for the royal wedding . . .

Dole was one of a number of Washingtonians interested in Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson's s wedding yesterday. He issued a statement in which he said: "I will confess I didn't set my alarm to catch the first minutes of news coverage. But Elizabeth -- not Queen Elizabeth -- told me she had the videotape machine rolling and recording." The majority leader described the wedding as a grand spectacle, the kind of "pomp and circumstance that only the British can fashion." In commenting on the "fairy tale" quality of the wedding, Dole couldn't resist a little politics: "In the meantime, we can take heart in knowing that sometimes fairy tales do come true -- let's hope that dream carries over to Capitol Hill in our drive to balance the federal budget" . . .

While there was interest in the royal wedding, it wasn't all that evident around town. One of the few places to take special notice was the Jefferson Hotel. Guests there walking into the dining room in the morning saw a massive seven-tier wedding cake complete with a British flag, champagne and coffee and a television at the bar showing the wedding . . .

Marjorie Hunt and Paul Wagner, who made the Oscar-winning documentary "The Stone Carvers," which portrays the life and work of the last remaining stone carvers working on the Washington Cathedral, recently were named winners of the Silver Harp Award at the 19th Golden Harp International Television Festival at Galway, Ireland. Michael Styer, director of programming and operations of Maryland Public Television, went to Ireland to accept the award. He is going to present it now to the two filmmakers at a private dinner tomorrow at the Kalorama home of television producer Craig J. Spence . . .