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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