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

Wembley Arena, London

Not a great evening

Dance: Beauty & the Beast Royal Albert Hall, London

Dance Royal Ballet (mixed programme) Royal Opera House, London

'Cope partners Bussell as though dancing were the most ecstatic experience in the world'

Come dancing

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

Dance GISELLE / ASHTON PROGRAMME Royal Ballet, London

In the six years since her elevation to principal status within the Royal Ballet, Darcey Bussell has sustained a fan club whose members - both press and public - tend towards the kind of blind adulation normally reserved for showbiz celebrities. Certainly, Bussell's is an exceptional talent. But it is yet to be consolidated and refined, as well as matched to the necessary acting skills which, so far, have too often eluded her.

Dance: The best, and hottest, ballerinas in town

ARE Russian dancers better?Last week provided some fine opportunities to compare and contrast. Darcey Bussell was making her debut as Giselle, and Sylvie Guillem was guest artist in the Kirov's Fountain of Bakhchisarai.

CAPTAIN MOONLIGHT: Balancing acts ... hedgehogs not invited ... find Archer!

MY readers will know that the Captain is an unflinching, indomitable fighter against injustice. Falsely besmirched and canarded reputations are a speciality. This is the column that, in its time, has doughtily defended Melvyn Bragg, Canadians and dentists. So I was particularly upset that a highly important survey into attitudes among accountants received such a small amount of publicity last week. The survey, conducted by Hays Accountancy Personnel, revealed that accountants like to wear Armani designer suits and drive soft-top sports cars. Not only that, but the person accountants would most like to be for a week is super-spy James Bond, while 78 per cent of accountants regard themselves as "fitting consorts" for Elizabeth Hurley. That's more like it! For too long, accountants have been an easy target for the lazy, so-called "humorists" whose natural habitat is the saloon bar or the kitchen at parties where they parrot old television scripts. I will confidently wager that not one of them knows that: 1) the film star Dana Andrews was an accountant; 2) Jeremy Hanley taught accountancy, and soon may be doing so again; 3) there is a windsurfing instructor in Greece called Shiny-Happy John Edwards who used to be an accountant; 4) Warren Barton, once of Wimbledon, now of Newcastle, Britain's most expensive defender, is an accountant; 5) John Redwood's father, Edwina Currie's brother-in-law, Barbara Cartland's grandson and the father of the winner of the national Scrabble championships in1993: all accountants. More balance, please.

The Royal Ballet - what's the big idea?

Commercial paranoia has driven Britain's premier dance company into a spiral of artistic timidity. Sophie Constanti wonders if there'll ever be a truly contemporary repertoire at Covent Garden

Dance: The Forsythe saga

Royal Ballet Covent Garden, London

Juliet detached

Dance

LETTER:Small price to pay

From Mr Keith Cooper Sir: Football fans must be heartily sick of being accused of supporting art forms they have no interest in ("Let the market return to Covent Garden''; leading article, 13 January). Of the 500,000 who come to Covent Garden every year and the 5 million who have watched performances by Royal Opera House companies on BBC TV over the past few years, some must enjoy watching golf, snooker, football or tennis balls being knocked around.

ASHTON : LEST WE FORGET

Ashton Remembered - the second of this season's Royal Ballet tributes to the company's founder-choreographer - is, like last month's Ashton Celebration, a peculiarly unschematic but riveting exposition of the diversity of Ashton's output. Spanning some 50 years of his career, the programme consists of four dusted-down, rarely-performed items - "Air" from Homage to the Queen, La Chatte Metamorphosee en Femme, and the Thais and Raymonda pas de deux - sandwiched between The Dream and Facade. That th e ecstatically lyrical love duet for Oberon and Titania in The Dream could have been created by the same choreographer who, some 30 years earlier, produced the disarmingly satirical revue of popular dance forms in Facade, or the charming nonsense of La C hatte(in 1985), or the grand classicism of the Raymonda pas de deux (in 1962), is testament not only to the scope of Ashton's imagination but to the longevity of his inventive genius.

How We Met: Darcey Bussell and Anthony Crickmay

Darcey Bussell, 24, a principal dancer with the Royal Ballet, was still a student when spotted by Kenneth MacMillan. On 18 June she opens at Covent Garden as Masha, a role he created for her, in a new production of Winter Dreams. She lives in London and is much in demand for fashion shoots.

DANCE / Dance of life: Judith Mackrell reviews a star-studded celebration of Rudolf Nureyev's career, at the Coliseum

What with all the gossip surrounding the absent stars (would Sylvie dance or wouldn't she?) and the totting up of all the celebrities present, it had been easy to forget the point of Sunday night's gala. But when the curtain rose on a collage of Nureyev images - multiple views of that astonishingly beautiful face - you remembered that he was the biggest star of them all. Through all the steps and speeches that followed, Rudolf Nureyev remained the monumental presence, and absence, at the centre of the evening.

Romance stripped bare: Heart Searching: Fed up with being alone, Mike Gerrard replied to a lonely hearts advertisement, and found a partner who left him dancing on air

What do you do when your girlfriend takes her clothes off in the pub of a Sunday lunchtime? It was a hot day, I admit, and they do say visiting Canvey Island can do funny things to a person.

DANCE / Glam slam: Judith Mackrell on near-perfection in the Royal Ballet's Ballet Imperial

Many of Balanchine's ballets are about hierarchy, with the dancers ranked in power and prestige like a mini court. But while, as in Ballet Imperial, the principals may be invested with a heightened glamour and status, Balanchine makes them work to keep their place. They not only have to dance with the grandeur and pride of privilege, they have to take bigger risks than everyone else and push harder against their mortal limits.
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