Arts and Entertainment

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

A Tsar is murdered, and a star is born

DANCE

If you go down to the woods today...; DANCE

A young Highlander is dozing in an armchair on the eve of his own wedding when a forest sylph flits in and lands him a kiss. Entranced, the bounder elopes to a woodland glade hoping to join his lot with this flimsy vision of loveliness. Some hope. He ends with empty arms and an emptier heart, as the sylph withers in his grasp and his earth-bound fiancee weds his best friend. Scotch mist has always played cruel tricks.

Don't blame it on the ballet

As the Royal Ballet's `Cinderella' and the Kirov's `Nutcracker' bow out today, Louise Levene reflects on two productions that, despite their star turns, never quite believe in their own magic

Books Lives & Letters: Discipline of the swans

SECRET MUSES: The Life of Frederick Ashton by Julie Kavanagh, Faber pounds 25

Pointe of return

At 57, Lynn Seymour can still hold her own with the boys in `Swan Lake'. By Louise Levene

The last decade in ballet

TEN YEARS IN THE ARTS

The ballerinas who dance with danger

Deborah Bull, one of the principal dancers at the Royal Ballet, has confessed to an unhealthy lifestyle of intermittently starving herself, making excessive demands on her body and ignoring warning signs of early injury.

The artists formerly known as ballet dancers

the Critics: DANCE

Come dancing

Darcey Bussell and Sylvie Guillem get through 20 pairs of shoes a month

Obituary: Youly Algaroff

Youly Algaroff, ballet dancer: born Simferopol, Crimea 28 March 1918; died 6 August 1995.

Louise Levene on dance

Before the Kirov's arrival in London last month there was talk of cash-flow problems, backstage power struggles and Mafia interference that painted a highly-coloured picture of a company in crisis. It may all be true, but it has yet to affect the productions themselves. Money may be tight, but the Kirov's lovingly maintained versions of the classics never have that flyblown look that came to characterise the Bolshoi's repertoire. And the dancing is still superb. The Kirov corps de ballet, despite being taller, thinner and a tad more athletic, continues to astonish with its ability to suggest that we're watching not 32 career swans but one beautiful dancer trapped between two mirrors. In the past the Kirov's critical reception has been unmodified rapture, but this time there were a few raspberries tucked among the bouquets.

Award to parents of riverboat victim wiped out by costs

The parents who won pounds 34,000 for the loss of their daughter in the Marchioness riverboat disaster, said yesterday that their award would be swallowed up in legal costs.

Metro Choice: Paws for thought

Forget all that hackneyed pocket-watch stuff - Hugh Lennon hypnotises you with his dog. Hypno Dog (below), Lennon's pet Labrador, has a very dominant stare, and when Lennon's house-guests were constantly mesmerised by the basilisk canine, Lennon d ecidedto incorporate his best friend into his act. Volunteers are invited on stage to sit in front of the dog, and after a while they just collapse on to the floor, to be resurrected as a ballet dancer or John Travolta. Lennon has been hypnotising peopl e for20 years - he caught the bug after seeing a hypnotist on a cruise ship when he was doing a mind-reading act. He resolved to learn the technique, at first for personal reasons. "I do self-hypnosis all the time: the subconscious controls the body, so it'sgreat for stress-relief and general health. All kinds of creative people use some method of self-hypnosis." The safety of stage hypnotism is a bone of contention nowadays, but Lennon is the consummate experienced professional. "I do a lot of studen t union gigs, and interest is especially high around exam time, when everyone is stressed and suicide rates go up. I teach them how to cope," he says benignly. They recently wowed audiences on BBC1's Steve Wright's People Show; now it's your chance to se e Hugh and his Hypno Dog in person and live to tell the tail.

Obituary: Kaleria Fedicheva

Kaleria Ivanovna Fedicheva, ballerina: born Ust-Ijori, near Leningrad 20 July 1936; died Maribor, Slovenia 13 September 1994.
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