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

Wembley Arena, London

Darcey Bussell and Placido Domingo at the Royal Opera House

Arts in arms: Darcey Bussell and Placido Domingo at the Royal Opera House, in advance of its first fundraising Gala. The ballerina announced yesterday that she is to marry her fiance, Angus Forbes, early next year

Dance: How do they do that?

In the shadows prowls a man in a dark suit. He circles his prey and moves in on her with evil intent. But the girl's no victim. She goes nuclear. Fists fly, limbs flail, heads shake with such force as to empty the skull of teeth. What begins as an assault becomes a macabre jitterbug in which neither party will let the other go. He flings her to the floor and she's up and at him: now a homunculus clinging furiously to his chest; now a lethal blade, her Magimix legs threatening to slice him like a puree. If there is a message, it must be this: muggers beware. Hell hath no fury like a Montreal body-hurtler.

Arts: Swanning along to the rescue

Next time Sylvie Guillem asks 'Romeo, Romeo? wherefore art thou, Romeo?' Adam Cooper just might be the answer. By Louise Levene

Darcey defies a fright at the opera

Darcey Bussell last night returned to role that six years ago started her on the road to becoming Britain's best known ballerina.

DANCE With Louise Levene

The Eye on Dance

The Muses for a modern Britain are unveiled

In the late 18th century, Richard Samuel chose nine Muses of the day - all self-confessed blue stockings, then a term of praise - to pose for The Nine Living Muses of Great Britain. Now, using electronic wizardry, the painting has been updated for the Nineties.

DANCE: Royal Ballet: Ravel Royal Opera House, London

Ballet orchestras get very excited about playing an entire evening of Ravel. Not because Ravel is necessarily their favourite composer, but because playing just one composer all night makes them feel like musicians again. Accompanying the dancers with cut and paste Tchaikovsky symphonies doesn't have this effect. They were looking forward to last Friday's Ravel programme and it showed.

The last decade in ballet

TEN YEARS IN THE ARTS

Artspeople: Doctor of spin tipped to be master of arts

Whenever two or more artspeople are gathered together, it seems to be the main topic of conversation: who will be Secretary of State for the National Heritage if Labour wins the election? The loud whisper coming from them as should know is that it will be Peter Mandelson, aka as spin doctor supreme. He is rather more arty than is generally known. He is a trustee of the Whitechapel Art Gallery and is on the board of the English National Ballet, at whose functions he has been spotted deep in conversation with the ENB's patron, the Princess of Wales on matters balletic. A frenetic disco dancer himself, Mr Mandelson has not yet taken to the floor with the ENB patron.

Lure of the old, shock of the new

Louise Levene on the pick 'n' mix approach our ballet companies take to filling their dance-cards

Golden oldies reveal the three faces of Ashton

The Critics: Dance

Dance Royal Ballet ROH, London

The Royal Ballet's Ashton repertoire is like a fine string of pearls: if no one takes them out and wears them in the full glow of limelight they lose their lustre and start to look like old false teeth. Although the company has been accused of neglecting its heritage, it has been striving to make amends with painstaking revivals and new productions. The latest Ashton bill at Covent Garden opened on Monday night with Symphonic Variations, The Dream and an overdue revival of Illuminations, which began the programme.

Man about the House - a zany new sitcom

I didn't watch the first episode of The House, the BBC's behind- the-scenes look at what really goes on at the Royal Opera House. I had imagined that it would be about opera, a dead art form I am, sadly, congenitally unable to enjoy.

DANCE; Lessons in worldly wisdom with Twyla Tharp

IF THERE was ever a ballet weighed down by expectation, this was it: a big new work by a big-name American choreographer for a company badly in need of a hit. Twyla Tharp's Mr Worldly Wise was custom-built for the Royal Ballet, a vehicle both for its handsome corps and some of its brightest stars. The stage was set for a triumph. Curious then, that in the lull following Act I at the world premiere last Saturday, and again after Act II, there was a palpable lack of buzz. Whatever had been expected (something more modern, more bold, more difficult?) it clearly wasn't this.

The world according to Tharp

The legendary choreographer Twyla Tharp is on a mission to rescue the Royal Ballet. By Jenny Gilbert
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