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The Royal Ballet's `Anastasia' is at Covent Garden 7 and 9 Apr. and continuing; only one more performance of `La Bayadere', 10 Apr. Booking: 0171-304 4000

Kenneth MacMillan's three-act ballet based on the end of the Russian monarchy is a curious broken-backed creature. The first two-thirds of it offer a highly dubious slice of history set to a couple of Tchaikovsky symphonies, enlivened by a roller-skating heroine. Then comes a gripping piece of dance-drama about the woman who claimed to be Tsar Nicholas's youngest daughter. Anastasia, played out to music by Martinu, plus a specially made electronic score. It's like seeing two separate ballets one after the other - with one much better than the other.

Hit designer Bob Crowley did new designs for last season's revival, which were striking if not necessarily convincing, and enough people enthused about the result for it to return now before Covent Garden closes. "A triumphant restoration of a tremendous ballet," declared the Financial Times, always MacMillan's most consistent supporter.

Leanne Benjamin dances the powerful title role on Monday and Gillian Revie makes her debut in that part on Wednesday.

If you prefer something more classical, fight to get a day ticket or a return for Thursday: this is your last chance to witness Igor Zelensky's virtuoso star performance as the exotic hero of La Bayadere (right), Petipa's story of passion, murder and the triumph of true love in ancient India.


Ricochet Dance Company commissioned two contrasting choreographers to make their new programme. Rosemary Lee's new work is set to two string quartets by Terry Riley and is claimed to make the dancers look articulate, daring and graceful. Grace may not figure highly in Javier de Frutos's contribution, based on Stravinsky's Les Noces, but from this iconoclast it can hardly not be fascinating.

Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, SE1 (0171-960 4242) tonight