Arts and Entertainment

Holly Williams reports on a new Channel 4 show giving a leg-up to plus-sized dancers

Schoolboy wins rare place to train at Bolshoi Ballet

Last year Alex Caggegi was an ordinary teenager from a state school in the North of England with one difference: he dreamt of becoming a ballet dancer. Now he has become only the fourth Briton in history to win a place at Moscow's prestigious Bolshoi Academy.

Beatriz Stix-Brunell

Observations One To Watch: Beatriz Stix-Brunell, Ballerina, 19

The Royal Ballet's Beatrix Stix-Brunell replaced an injured Marianela Nuñez as Alice in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Birmingham Central Library brings books to life with live recitals

On entering a library you expect to see books – but do you expect them to be alive? Living, breathing books, side-by-side with the paper variety, waiting to be read?

Ivan Putrov, curator of Men in Motion at Sadler's Wells

A great leap forward for male dancers

The venerated ballerina had better watch her step – a new programme at Sadler's Wells shows that men could be about to steal the limelight for good

You Can't Take it With You, Royal Exchange, Manchester (5/5)

Frank Capra's classic film It's a Wonderful Life has become as established  a landmark in the modern Christmas landscape as Dickens's story of Scrooge did in post-Victorian times.

Strike threat at New York city opera

New York City Opera declared an impasse yesterday in contract negotiations with unions for its singers and musicians, threatening to present its abbreviated season without them.

Album: Fernando Sor, Le Calme – William Carter (Linn)

Played on the fingertips, Carter's gracefully shaped recital takes its title from the Opus 50 Caprice pour guitar seul, an idyll pitched on the cusp of Romanticism.

Manon, Royal Opera House, London

This Manon has all the right moves

There Once Lived a Woman, By Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

"There once lived a woman who was killed, then brought back to life." "There once lived a woman who was so fat, she couldn't fit in a taxi." Such weird, button-holing beginnings are typical of this collection of strange fables.

Black Swan: Caught in the dance

Black Swan shows ballerinas as obsessive, mysterious creatures. We do the artform a disservice with this much-peddled myth, says ex-dancer Alice-Azania Jarvis

My Life in Ten Questions... David Bellamy

British author, broadcaster and environmental campaigner David Bellamy spoke to The Independent Online about his childhood dream of becoming a ballet dancer, his talent for remembering Latin names of plants and why he wishes he'd danced with Margot Fonteyn.

Acosta comes to London stage

Cuban ballet star Carlos Acosta's new show Premieres opened at the Coliseum Theatre in London this week.

My life in ten questions...Sarah Cawood

''He's Just Not That Into You' changed my attitude to romance'

Philippe Braunschweig: Founder of the Prix de Lausanne ballet competition

The name of Philippe Braunschweig may be less familiar than the name of his creation, but that is a measure of its success. The Prix de Lausanne, which he founded in 1973, has been a major signpost in the career of many great ballet dancers; past winners who have gone on to become international stars include Carlos Acosta, Darcey Bussell and Diana Vishneva.

Marina Semyonova: Dancer who dominated Soviet ballet in the 1930s and became an inspirational teacher

Marina Semyonova was a virtuoso ballerina of great warmth and clarity; majestically graceful, she was able to colour her movement with a rare harmony of strength and lyricism. Unlike the ballerinas of her time she was tall, which gave her an authority and a breadth of line and dramatic beauty. She was the pride and joy of Soviet ballet during the 1930s.

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