'Shroud-waving,' said one jaundiced ballet insider when London City Ballet announced its imminent demise in June last year. To be fair, it wasn't the first time the company had been in trouble but this time it really looked like curtains.

The Arts Council refused requests for funds, preferring to give more cash to contemporary dance or 'Lesbians in bovver boots playing a mouth organ and banging a drum on the banks of the Thames,' as LCB's artistic director Harold King put it (who can he have meant?). But the company was saved after an eleventh-hour donation from the Gorlinsky Trust, ADT and Texaco, and London City Ballet was able to stagger bravely from its deathbed.

The company is enjoying a huge popular success with its new production of Coppelia (starring Tracey Newham Alvey, right). Can't wait that long? Then catch the fund-raising gala at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane (12 Jun). Guests include Darcey Bussell, loaned for the evening by Anthony Dowell. 'Anthony's been very good. When we were folding he was the only artistic director who sent me a telegram saying how sorry he was,' says King. Miss Bussell, normally the Grand Finale type, makes an early appearance with Adam Cooper in Winter Dreams. Meanwhile, on the other side of London, a woman is waiting. It's Sylvie Guillem, fervently hoping that 45 minutes is enough time to get from Covent Garden to Hampton Court. If not, she's going to look silly dancing Herman Schmerman on her own.

London City Ballet Summer Gala, 12 Jun, Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, WC2 (071-494 5060) pounds 10-pounds 50; Sylvie Guillem, 9pm 12 Jun, Hampton Court (071-344 4444) pounds 27.50, pounds 37.50; Coppelia, 20-25 Jun, Sadler's Wells, EC1 (071-278 8916) pounds 8-pounds 29.50

(Photograph omitted)