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The Independent Culture
Smok. Sounds like an Ikea bedside table. Comes in a set with the Tikki reading lamp and the Smeg headboard. Don't be silly. Smok is, of course, Pavel Smok, artistic director and master choreographer of the Prague Chamber Ballet (below), which visits Sadler's Wells next week. The company brings two programmes of works all by Smok except for Evening Songs by fellow Czech Jiri Kylian. Prague Chamber Ballet's last British visit was in 1991. "British choreographers could learn a lot from Smok if only the company was seen more widely here,'' the Times intoned. ``Powerfully idiosyncratic and refreshing,'' the Telegraph enthused - a warm critical response with none of that damningly faint praise ("able", "well-schooled", "promising") that so often characterises kindly reviews of small-ish Eastern European dance companies.

Fans of large-ish Eastern European dance companies will have been feasting on coverage of the latest round of Bolshoi grief. In-fighting has seen off the company's artistic director of 30 years and fresh "resignations" are announced almost daily. Bolshoi watchers eager to get the full SP from the horse's mouth should hurry on down to the annual Dance World exhibition at Olympia. The three-day event, which normally serves as a kind of Ideal Dance Exhibition for the leotard crowd, will be hijacked this year by the goings-on at Stand B32 at 11am today. Yuri Grigorovich along with his wife, prima ballerina Natalia Bessmertnova, and two former administrators of the Italia Conti Stage School, plan to launch a new multi-million pound venture calling itself the World Centre of Performing Arts. Take an autograph book and you might get lucky.

The first 10 readers to ring the Sadler's Wells box-office, EC1, on 071-713 6000, will win a copy of the `Rough Guide to Prague', two top- price tickets (£40) for either the 4 or 5 Apr and a bottle of Budweiser's Budvar.

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