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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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices