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Derek Deane's hunt for new dancers for the English National Ballet (below) is starting to resemble David O Selznick's search for Scarlett O'Hara. Indeed, Deane actually went to the deep south in his desperate quest for new talent. The Jackson International Ballet Competition is ballet's answer to the World Cup and is held in Mississippi every four years. Did he find anyone worth signing? Sadly not. Mr Deane's notoriously high standards made headlines a few weeks ago when he auditioned 100 British dancers and found no one good enough for his increasingly international company. He then made a public statement bewailing the state of ballet training in Britain.

This lamentable state of affairs has proved to be the best PR that English National Ballet has had in years and can only increase public interest in ENB's three-week London season at the Coliseum and the Royal Festival Hall. Meanwhile, if he fancies poaching some of the competition, he could do worse than get over to Holland Park where the Royal Ballet School's students and junior associates are giving their annual performances.

Past years have yielded stars like Miyako Yoshida, Darcey Bussell and Monica Zamora. Traditionally the Royal Ballet School's starlets have gone straight into the parent company but who knows? With the right transfer fee. . .

ENB at the London Coliseum from Monday with a mixed bill 25-26 Jul and Sleeping Beauty 27-30 Jul (071-836 3161). Then transfers to the Royal Festival Hall with Sleeping Beauty 2-6 Aug and Coppelia 8-13 Aug. (071-928 8800)

Royal Ballet School at Holland Park Theatre with a mixed programme till Saturday 23 July (071-602 7856).

(Photograph omitted)

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