Bill Clinton thought they were 'fantastic and the American ballet-going public as a whole was wildly impressed by the Royal Ballet's recent tour of the United States. Sylvie Guillem was dubbed 'an empress, Viviana Durante 'exquisitely finished and Darcey Bussell (right) earned a place on People Magazine's 'World's 50 most beautiful people list alongside fellow Brit hit Hugh Grant. All three ballerinas are now back in London. The Royal Ballet's accountant thought it would be nice to revive last year's Don Quixote for a further 15 performances. The production had almost universally hostile reviews, but even the sharpest pens found superlatives for the seemingly endless parade of sensational dancing in the lead roles. These included the show-stopping virtuosity of Miyako Yoshida and Tetsuya ('Teddy) Kumakawa, the unexpected last-minute pairing of comedienne Sylvie Guillem and German import Oliver Matz and familiar favourites Viviana Durante and Irek Mukhamedov, all of whom feature again this year. Did you spot the missing ballerina? Darcey Bussell's debut was postponed due to injury, but she makes up for it this season on 22 and 25 June. In theory Miss Bussell would seem too tall for the spritely little Kitri, but then on paper, a bumblebee can't get off the ground.
Don Quixote opens at 7.30pm Monday 30 May when Sylvie Guillem is partnered by Jonathan Cope, and continues in repertory until 30 July. Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, WC2 (071-240 1066)