Dance: You will go to the ball

After setting feathers flying with Swan Lake, Adventures in Motion Pictures dust off Cinderella's party dress and transport her to the world of the London Blitz

You often hear Cinderella erron-eously described as a 19th-century classic. The fairy-tale scenario and the three-act format cause it to be bracketed with Giselle, Don Quixote and the Tchaikovsky ballets. In fact, of course, the score wasn't completed until 1944 and the first ballet production dates from the Bolshoi's in 1945. British audiences are most familiar with Frederick Ashton's 1948 production, which combined the grandeur of classical ballet with the earthy humour of the British pantomime tradition. A decade ago, Rudolf Nureyev took a fresh look at the scenario with the Paris Opera Ballet and created a story set in Thirties Hollywood. Now, it is Matthew Bourne's turn with a production set during the Blitz.

Adventures in Motion Pictures' irreverent approach to Swan Lake last year attracted several talents from the world of ballet. Fiona Chadwick, deemed surplus to requirements by the Royal Ballet at the height of her powers, suddenly took on a new lease of life creating the role of Siegfried's mother. Adam Cooper, Covent Garden's perpetual bridesmaid, was catapulted into international stardom (of a sort) in the compelling role of the Swan. Suddenly the ballet world cottoned on to the idea that dancing with young Mr Bourne was not only great fun, it was a smart career move. Lynn Seymour, after a sensational run as Siegfried's mother in London, went on to take Los Angeles by storm during the company's sell-out season there.

Bourne's latest signing is the Royal Ballet's Sarah Wildor, a hugely promising dance actress. This fragile, faintly vulnerable, blonde will now lead the first cast of Bourne's wartime version. Her wicked stepmother will be Lynn Seymour and her hero will be Adam Cooper. Although we make a big fuss about the guests from the world of ballet, it should be remembered that the company would never have got where it is without their core talents.

Cinderella is previewing for 9 days from tonight, before opening at the Piccadilly Theatre (0171-369 1734) on the 7 Oct

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