The Harrogate International Festival has had some notably enterprising dance programmes over the years, but none more than this week's importation of a programme from the Ballet of the Paris Opera. Each season, the Paris company, overflowing with talent, puts on a special bill as a showcase for its most notable up-and-coming newcomers; it is this Jeunes Danseurs programme, already admired at home in the Palais Garnier, that is coming to Harrogate.
The showpiece classic Grand Pas from Petipa's ballet Paquita is a demanding but richly rewarding choice, while one of the newest principal dancers of the Ballet de l'Opera, Jean-Guillaume Bart, has created another of the works to be performed, Alla Fuga. Along with these, the programme offers highlights from contrasted classics in the repertoire: La Sylphide, Le Corsaire, and La Fille mal gardee.
The dancers taking part are all eager to justify their choice as being among the potential stars of the future, and every one will want to prove her- or himself as the most likely to rise rapidly up the promotion ladder - which, with this company, can be very quick indeed. Given that there is not a theatre in Britain with a stage able to take the big productions from Paris, a journey to France is the only way to see them. A trip to Harrogate could provide an appetising taster of one of the world's greatest ballet companies.
Meanwhile, another great company, the Kirov, has only one more week to run at the London Coliseum (see listing below). Another of their famous productions, Romeo and Juliet, comes in for just four performances this week. The other programmes are all ballets by Michel Fokine, with his Stravinsky Firebird at all performances, accompanied by Spectre de la rose, The Dying Swan and The Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor today, and, next weekend, by a Scheherazade and Chopiniana (Fokine's own original Saint Petersburg title for Les Sylphides).
With this variety of works, and a selection of the company's most popular dancers, excellence is assured for every performance.Reuse content