It's all very well for Kiri Te Kanawa. When the temperature in darkest Surrey drops to 50F, she can still regale the Hampton Court Festival with 'My Tiny Hand is Frozen wearing thermal undies and a shawl. Sylvie Guillem's Gianni Versace is unlikely to be shown to advantage under a cosy winter woolly. But ballet dancers like it hot. Very hot. Anything below Equity's specified 65F and they go on strike - witness English National Ballet's infamous decision to pirouette to rule last November when the Palace Theatre, Manchester, had a problem with its thermostat. Dancers' muscles need to be kept warm or they risk injury. Which makes open air ballet a dodgy proposition. And yet both Sylvie Guillem (right) and the Bolshoi ballet are planning to brave the rigours of an English summer evening. Sylvie, at Hampton Court, and the Bolshoi on a heritage tour of British stately homes: Leeds Castle, Highclere Castle and Castle Howard.
When asked what the heating plans were, Sylvie's publicity machine ground to a painful halt . 'Eating? said a puzzled voice. No, heating. 'But it's outdoors, she explained. The whole extravaganza will be mounted on a mobile stage The Like of Which the World has Never Seen and, yes, the dancers will be kept warm. However, nobody is giving anything away, so it may yet prove to be thermal tights - if only for the audience.
Sylvie Guillem dances three flashy ballets that show her talents to considerable advantage: Maurice Bejart's Bolero and Sissi with William Forsyth's Herman Schmerman. Hampton Court Festival. pounds 27.50 (071-344 4444). 12 June. Picnics from 7.30pm Dancing (her, not you) 9pm.
The Bolshoi Ballet: 8-10 July. Highclere Castle (0635 253204); 15-17 July. Castle Howard (Ticketmaster: 071-344 4444); 22-24 July. Leeds Castle (0622-880008). pounds 45 & pounds 55. 7.30pm