Tour B: Queen's Theatre, Barnstaple (01271 24242) 24, 25 July; De la Warr Pavilion, Bexhill (01424 787949) 28 June; Plowright Theatre, Scunthorpe (01724 840883) 1, 2 July; Forum 28, Barrow-in Furness (01229 820000) 4, 5 July; Corn Exchange, Cambridge (01223 3578511) 11, 12 July
From the sublime to the - no, that's not quite right, but English National Ballet's dancers must feel disconcerted, right after Derek Deane's gigantic Swan Lake, to be splitting up for two simultaneous tours to medium-sized theatres across the country. However, there are compensations. ENB have been doing tours of this sort longer than any other British company and have a knack for making them both enjoyable and enterprising.
In contrast to the Royal Ballet's puritanically (and often boringly) modernistic Dance Bites tours on a similar circuit, ENB includes on each programme a group of the virtuoso showpieces which audiences understandably enjoy. Besides, although ENB's leading dancers do their fair share on the road, there are chances for up-and-coming youngsters to show their paces, which is more fun for them and for audiences. These show-off numbers are selected from among the old classics - Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote and The Corsair - plus creations by Derek Deane and Ben Stevenson's popular Three Preludes, to music by Rachmaninoff.
Tour A has the privilege of better-provided theatres, where an orchestra can accompany the dancers, who consequently get to dance Balanchine's exhilarating ballet Who Cares?, set to arrangements of Gershwin songs in classical ballet's smiling tribute to Broadway. Surprisingly, however, other full-scale work is done to recorded music - the Paul Simon songs which ice champion Christopher Dean chose as the basis for his semi-autobiographical first stage ballet, Encounters.
Those on tour B, on the other hand, have the opportunity to dance two new ballets specially made for them by dancers in the company. Patrick Lewis calls his piece Cut to the Chase, which promises to be a ballet of pure movement to follow his more dramatic Unrequited Moments last year. Christopher Hampson's contribution is commissioned as an upbeat finale to the evening.Reuse content