Arts and Entertainment

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

DANCE / Fairytale marriage of ballet and panto: Louise Levene reviews Viviana Durante and Nina Ananiashvili in the Royal Ballet's new revival of Ashton's Cinderella

What? No flopsy bunnies? Frederick Ashton's Beatrix Potter may have reduced audiences to cheering when a duck lays an egg, but the Royal Ballet's latest revival of the 1987 production of his Cinderella is proof that you don't need small furry animals to fill Covent Garden. Ashton's carefully arranged marriage between classical ballet and pantomime was the first British three act ballet and it sprang fully formed from the choreographer's imagination after a lifetime absorbing Petipa's classical tradition. Created in only six weeks in 1948, it has provided a brilliant setting for generations of young ballerinas.

DANCE / The prince of new territory: Sir Kenneth MacMillan died at Covent Garden on Thursday. Judith Mackrell pays tribute

IT was an extravagantly painful and theatrical conclusion to one of ballet's most creative careers. As the curtain came down on the funereal epilogue to Mayerling, the heroine's coffin had just been lowered into the ground, the men in black had taken guard over the grave and a single mourner had left the darkened stage in tears. Less than a minute later Jeremy Isaacs and Anthony Dowell appeared on stage to announce that the creator of the ballet, Sir Kenneth MacMillan had suffered a heart attack during the final act, and died.

DANCE / Autumn splendour: When male stars collapse, the women keep getting better. Louise Levene ponders the mystique of the ageing ballerina

'HOW OLD is she?' a photographer asked at a rehearsal recently. 'Fifty- two,' came the innocent reply. 'Who's asking?' came an anguished shriek from the far side of the Coliseum footlights: 'Tell him 46.'

Return of a star who quit: Jonathan Cope retired from the Royal Ballet aged 27. Now he is set for a comeback. Kathy Marks hears why

JONATHAN COPE stunned the dance world when he retired from the Royal Ballet at the age of 27 two years ago. The news that he will be returning to his former position as a principal male dancer this autumn comes as even more of a bombshell.
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Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?