Ballet's grand old man returns after 17 years

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The Independent Online
The Royal Ballet will next week stage a new work by Glen Tetley, described as the last "grand old man" of international ballet. It will be the first work that the 72-year-old American choreographer, with more than 70 ballets behind him, has created in this country for 17 years.

The new abstract ballet, entitled Amores, will star Darcey Bussell and Stuart Cassidy. It will form part of a triple bill which will be the last full programme the Royal Ballet presents at Covent Garden in central London before the company goes on a major tour of Japan.

A Royal Ballet spokeswoman said that Tetley had "gone out to create a ballet which stretched six of the country's finest dancers to the limit".

The remainder of the triple bill will now take on a strange aspect following a dispute between the Royal Ballet and the Balanchine Trust in New York. The Royal Ballet had advertised that it was staging, along with Amores, two ballets by Balanchine, Apollo and Symphony in C.

However, the trust that controls performances of Apollo has refused The Royal Ballet permission to stage the piece unless it has prior casting approval. The trust wanted to watch the dress rehearsal of Apollo and then make its decision, only hours before curtain up on the first night next Wednesday.

The Royal Ballet director Sir Anthony Dowell has ruled out such a last- minute arrangement and the company has cancelled its plans to stage Apollo, which will be replaced by one of the Royal Ballet's well known works, The Judas Tree, choreographed by the late Sir Kenneth Macmillan. The company is having to contact every ticket holder to inform them of the change.

It is understood the Balanchine Trust was concerned that the Royal Ballet star Irek Muk-hamedov might be "too muscular" for the lead role in Apollo.

To add to the oddity of the situation, another Balanchine work, Symphony in C, will still be performed as part of the triple bill next Wednesday. That ballet is controlled by a separate trust, which has no worries about the suitability of the Royal Ballet to perform the work.

t The Royal Ballet dancer Adam Cooper, who is leaving the company, opened in Los Angeles last night in the all-male Swan Lake presented by Adventures in Motion Pictures. The radical reinterpretation of the work, which played at a theatre in the West End of London last year, received huge advance sales at the start of its United States tour.