Observations: Peculiar dance moves

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The Independent Culture

Two surprise moves in the dance world this week. The Bolshoi Ballet's Alexei Ratmansky becomes artist in residence at American Ballet Theatre – which snatched him from under the nose of its rivals, New York City Ballet. Back in Britain, Javier De Frutos has made a speedy exit from Phoenix Dance Theatre.

In Ratmansky's case, the surprise is his decision to go to ABT, having already made several ballets for NYCB.

The key attraction may be freedom: Ratmansky's five-year agreement allows him to make ballets for other companies – a departure from ABT's usual blockbuster conservatism. As choreographer of such hits as The Bright Stream, an irresistible story ballet created for the Bolshoi, he's certainly in demand.

De Frutos's departure is more of a shock. His work with Phoenix had suggested long-term plans, with varied repertory and high-profile collaborations. Now a tight-lipped press statement announces that De Frutos has left "by mutual agreement", though Phoenix will still be dancing his repertory for its autumn tour. There is still no word on his successor.