Arts and Entertainment English National Ballet's 'The Nutcracker'

English National Ballet, London Coliseum

Choice: Dance-Royal Ballet's Giselle, Labatt's Apollo, Hammersmith, London W6 (0171-416 6075)

People have been monkeying about with Giselle in recent years. Derek Deane's English National Ballet set it in an Alpine hotel, Christopher Gable's Northern Ballet Theatre have just set it in a country under military occupation, but the Royal Ballet are happy to revive Peter Wright's excellent 1985 production which trusts the story of a jilted peasant girl who dies after her aristocratic beau betrays her and who is recruited into the terrifying band of ghostly Wilis. Tonight's Giselle is Viviana Durante, fresh from her year's sabbatical, and her cheating swain is Irek Mukhamedov.

Lot of ballyhoo about ballet who and where

The party line on the Royal Ballet's occupation of Labatt's Apollo in Hammersmith is that the season represents "A Huge Opportunity". This is Marketing-speak for "A Huge Problem". When pressed on this point, Anthony Russell Roberts, the company's administrative director, will go so far as to admit that the enforced stay in the outer reaches of West London constitutes "A challenge", which roughly translates as "A Headache". Spoilt for so many years by inhabiting a gilded Opera House in the heart of London, the company is now roughing it in a venue more usually associated with rock musicians in a location known principally for its flyover. The Royal Ballet's director, Sir Anthony Dowell, may talk excitedly of new audiences but he wouldn't be doing that if he wasn't seriously afraid that he had temporarily lost the old one.

Glowing performance at the ballet

Sixty English National Ballet dancers have been banned from sunbathing after returning from holiday with glowing pink faces.

Dance / The Kirov Ballet at the London Coliseum

The Kirov Ballet perform at the London Coliseum (0171-632 8300) 8 Jul-9 Aug

All together now

English National Ballet's 'Swan Lake' opens this week with a cast of 65 swans. Visions of Tiller Girls spring to mind. But why shouldn't a ballet audience appreciate dancing in unison?

DANCE La Bayadere Royal Opera House, London

Miyako Yoshida's back injury has deprived her fans of a long-awaited debut as the hapless Nikiya in the Royal Ballet's La Bayadere but has provided Covent Garden with two world-class substitutes: the Kirov's Altynai Asylmuratova (who made an unscheduled appearance during the Opera House's Paul Hamlyn Week) and American Ballet Theatre's Susan Jaffe who made her Royal Ballet debut on Wednesday.

ENO to abandon London Coliseum

The English National Opera is to leave its long-standing home at the London Coliseum.

More style than content


British dancers fail to take off in `Swan Lake'

The artistic director of the English National Ballet yesterday accused British ballet schools of producing second-rate dancers. Derek Deane said that he had no option but to recruit foreign talent for the largest production of Swan Lake ever staged in this country.

DANCE: The English National Ballet performs Coppelia

The English National Ballet performs Coppelia in Southampton 21-26 Oct, and then tours to Manchester, Leeds and Nottingham

'My broken shin was the best thing ever'

Giuseppe Picone, 20, was promoted to senior soloist at the English National Ballet company 18 months ago, writes Clare Garner. One year later, he found himself laid off with a stress fracture to his shin. Only now, after six months of physiotherapy, is he back in action.

Dance: Swan Lake Hippodrome, Birmingham

For all the success Matthew Bourne's version of the world's most popular ballet is enjoying in the West End, there is plenty of life yet in more traditional forms of good old Swan Lake, as Birmingham Royal Ballet proves by reviving it for the autumn tour. This is the dark, dramatic production created by Philip Prowse, Peter Wright and Galina Samsova, first given 15 years ago and still in good condition.

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.

Dance Lord of the Dance Coliseum, London

Michael Winner loved it. And this isn't some nasty private little habit of his: he shares that love with thousands and thousands of people. On Tuesday night, Winner and a host of celebrities worshipped at the altar of Michael Flatley, self-annointed Lord of the Dance. By Wednesday, we were down to the more humble disciples but their faith was absolute. "Ooh look: 'Video available October,' " burbled the folk behind me excitedly as they devoured their souvenir programme - and they hadn't even seen the show yet. Veterans of countless trips to Riverdance, they were certain to enjoy themselves. Imagine the advance box-office for Phantom II and you get the general idea.
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