DANCE

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The Independent Culture
The Royal Ballet performs a triple-bill of Symphony in C, The Judas Tree and Amores at the Royal Opera House, London (0171-304 4000), from 30 Apr

Ballet-goers will have been disappointed to learn of the Royal Ballet's late cancellation of Apollo, a work it has performed on and off since 1966. The Balanchine Trust, which keeps a beady eye on all performances of Mr B's creations, had apparently refused to licence the Covent Garden revival until it had seen the dress rehearsal on 29 April - a mere 24 hours before the run opened. This extraordinarily unco-operative behaviour on the part of the Trust has set the ballet world buzzing.

It seems that the Royal Ballet had allowed its Apollo licence to expire last year but the real problem was the plan to cast Irek Mukhamedov. Although he has had success in Apollo in the past, he is currently considered too, er, large to interpret the role. This stringent bit of quality control by the Trust caused the Royal Ballet to pull Apollo entirely.

This was a blow to guest star Igor Zelensky who was due to make his London debut as Apollo opposite Darcey Bussell on 3 May.

Zelensky's disappointment has been twofold - not only has he missed an opportunity to partner a ballerina he admires, but he had also passed up the chance to dance the first night of New York City Ballet's Sleeping Beauty.

The Royal Ballet has opted for a bizarre substitution: Kenneth MacMillan's harrowing drama of rape and betrayal, The Judas Tree, which, for all its power and invention, is unsuitable for young children or anyone with what used to be called a nervous disposition.

Another element of the triple bill is Symphony in C (above). Although this ballet is also by Balanchine, its rights are owned by former dancer John Taras and it is not directly under the aegis of the Balanchine Trust. The third ballet is Amores, a new work by the 71-year-old American choreographer Glen Tetley which uses six of the company's strongest dancers, including Darcey Bussell and the gallant William Trevitt.

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