Arts and Entertainment The Strictly Come Dancing cast pose at the National Indoor Arena, Birmingham

Wembley Arena, London

Going Out: Dance: Les Ballets Trockadero

Taller than Darcey Bussell, more chic than Margot Fonteyn, Les Ballets Trockadero or "Trocks" (right) take classical refinement to unheard of limits. Maya Thickenthighya, Fifi Barkova, Ida Nevasayneva: these are some of the legendary names that will stun you in The Dying Swan, and other favourites. You will gasp at the ballerinas' supported fouettes, so powerful they can unbalance their cavaliers; you will marvel at an interpretative sensitivity that can make their swans as vivid as ostriches. The 14 Trocks are not the fragile ladies they claim to be; but they promise a jolly evening of affectionate ballet mockery. On the road worldwide for 25 years, these drag queens are enjoying a renewed surge of popularity and tour the regions before their London visit this autumn.

Anger as the Opera House goes private for a season

THE ROYAL Opera House has engaged a commercial promoter to stage a season by the Royal Ballet in the new lottery-funded opera house, The Independent has learned.

The Sitter's Tale: Darcey Bussell

New faces at the National Portrait Gallery: the leading ballet dancer discusses her good points

Dance: City slickers


`Rake's Progress' stumbles


Best feet forward

Following the Royal Ballet's rustication to Hammersmith, London's dance elite was pining for a bit of glamour. Luckily, says Louise Levene, Sunday's Royal "Stars of the Night" Gala made sure that they got it.

Dance Review: They can Trock till they drop

Les Ballets Trockaderos

People: Pavarotti and Verdi prove to be the ultimate duet as concerts sell out

Tickets to hear Luciano Pavarotti singing Verdi's Requiem with the Philharmonia in the Royal Festival Hall in December sold out in two hours.

Ballet: Frock Trock shock

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

Big luvvie is watching you

It's hi-tech, state of the art and scary. Rising out of the foyer, winking and scheming like Hal, the subversive computer in 2001, comes the new all-seeing, all-knowing theatre box office. With potential to arrange and maybe change your life.

Dance: The Kirov use all their feminine Wilis

I Have often found something a little eerie in the Kirov's corps de ballet, with its dozens upon dozens of identikit girls whose admiral lengths of neck, slope of shoulder and torso-to-leg proportions suggest some secret pre-Gorbachev programme of genetic engineering. But in both the ballets the company showed last week - a refreshingly straightforward production of Swan Lake and sublime Giselle - one ceased to wonder at the uniformity, and marvelled instead at the diamond security of technique that enables some 40-odd slips-of-things to dance as one. As swans they present a mirrored wall of perfectly angled limbs. As the spectral Wilis - the ghosts of jilted maidens who force their deceivers to dance themselves to death - they produce the deliciously extended frisson that first ensured that Giselle, uniquely among romantic ballets, would remain in the company's repertoire for 150 years.

Letter: Royal Ballet School is a leap behind

Sir: As he is Chairman of the Governors of the Royal Ballet School, it was predictable that Lord Sterling's letter (17 July) would defend the school's staff and pupils, but he was also profoundly smug about the standards they achieve in world-class ballet terms. He claims that former pupils are "now some of the brightest stars in the international ballet world", but only Darcey Bussell truly falls into this category.

ROYAL OPERA HOUSE GALA Covent Garden, London

I will confess to having looked forward excitedly to Monday night's farewell gala at the Opera House. I saw my very first ballet in that same stuffy auditorium (Fonteyn and Nureyev in Swan Lake, since you ask) and the thrill has never really worn off. The programme had been kept a secret and there were breathless mutterings about the various surprises in store. In the event, the secrecy seemed more a factor of managerial uncertainty than any particular sense of theatre. We all knew Sylvie Guillem would be dancing (it said so in the Radio Times), they were hardly likely to give Darcey Bussell, Irek Mukhamedov and Tetsuya Kumakawa a night off and the Kirov had already let the cat out of the bag that Igor Zelensky would be dancing. The only surprise was that there were no surprises.

Curtains as Covent Garden goes into exile

The Royal Ballet last night gave its final performance at Covent Garden, central London, before the two-year closure for its controversial pounds 213m redevelopment.

Ballet stars quit for Blitz 'Cinderella'

'Too safe' Royal's dancers are finding more adventurous work, writes Elizabeth Redick
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