Arts and Entertainment

Paul McCartney's first work for dance may be the most satisfying of his classical pieces – but then, he's been composing for the dance all his life, in a way.

Dances: More riches in Richmond

Naked men last week, pointe shoes next week. Richmond Theatre's enterprising dance season continues with English National Ballet (or part of it, anyway) in a triple bill of goodies from their repertoire (Balanchine's Square Dance, Mauro Bigonzetti XNtricities and Christopher Hampson's Perpetuum Mobile) as a curtain-raiser to their small-scale spring tour.

Trying to put some bite into the dance

By Louise Levene

Smart moves: Toughen up and beat the bully

WHEN Jo Ellen Grzyb's former boss bullied her into breaking down in tears - twice - she decided enough was enough. "I thought: 'Nobody is going to do this to me'.

DANCE: Darling, it's the best dressed place to be

Contemporary dance and couture are such an obvious pairing, it's odd they haven't hitched up before. Clash of creative egos may be the reason. Models invariably mooch down the catwalk in a manner suggesting that a modicum of creative thought has gone into it, but that's a far cry from giving an art-dance choreographer with an established name the chance to doodle his or her own signature all over the clothes. It also takes an unusual leap of faith to ask dancers - who do not normally have the physiognomy of giraffes - to wear them. But this was precisely the idea behind Cut & Thrust, a one-off dance-cum-fashion show held at the Saatchi Gallery last week in order to raise funds for the revamping of The Place.

Obituary: Alexandra Danilova

Alexandra Danilova was a sophisticated lady with a champagne wit, both on and off stage, and to the end of her days, writes Marilyn Hunt [further to the obituary by John Gregory, 15 July]. Admirers love to tell stories of her pithy remarks and pungent punchlines, in her irrepressibly Russian English.

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.

DANCE Symphony in C; Giselle Kirov Ballet, London Coliseum

Can the Kirov dance Balanchine? Do they have the strength for those dazzling releves? The sheer stamina for all that allegro vivace? Those brought up on the New York City Ballet style tend to sneer at European readings of Balanchine. Even the Kirov's own Igor Zelensky (an NYCB dancer for most of the year) clearly has his doubts: "They do it their own way," he says - scarcely a confident endorsement of the Kirov's interpretation.

A step in the wrong direction

The ordeal of Linda Goss says a lot about the state of teaching at the Royal Ballet School. Told here by the award-winning novelist and former dancer Joan Brady, it is a most disturbing tale

Obituary: Toshiro Mayuzumi

Like truly elegant fashions, the finest musical scores for films are those that do not draw attention to their brilliance, and let the pictures speak for themselves.

Eye Sight

Most men who leave their fiancees for richer women with better social connections can expect little more than an attack on their wardrobes with the dressmaking scissors. Solor, the hero of Petipa's 1877 melodrama La Bayadere, gets harsher treatment. The gods, outraged at his treatment of the lovely temple dancer, Nikiya, stage the collapse of the temple during his wedding to her rival, the scheming Rajah's daughter Gamzatti. It's rubbish, but it's imperial rubbish and Natalia Makarova's 1989 production for the Royal Ballet manages to salvage a little of the magic.


The highlight of the usual Christmas television dance bonanza this year must surely be Adventures in Motion Pictures' widely acclaimed production of Swan Lake (Boxing Day 8.30pm-10.30pm BBC2). Commonly dubbed an all-male ballet it is, in fact nothing of the kind. What is male about it is Matthew Bourne's corps of big, half-naked male swans (left). Bourne, having spotted that the swan is not a skinny, fluffy little thing but a large aggressive bird with a nasty streak, decided that the swans should be danced by men. His prince is an unhappy man in the long shadow of his mother, a career queen with no time for emotional relationships. She makes time for sexual ones, and swans around her court talent-spotting among the palace guard. Emotionally crippled by this less-than-ideal domestic set-up, the unhappy prince goes off into the night in search of human contact. What he finds is a large male swan (danced by the incredible Adam Cooper) who provides him with a glimpse of wider horizons. In the second half of the work, Bourne subverts the familiar scenario of the Petipa/Ivanov Act III by having the Black Swan arrive in the ballroom in black leather and proceed to flirt aggressively with every woman in the room. The performances are exceptional, Brotherson's designs are witty and sharp, and the choreography for the swans is inspired. Be prepared to laugh moderately throughout, and weep at the end.

Igor's belles

Igor Zelensky is in demand. He's one of a rare breed of male dancers who can work with anyone and name their price. He's also got a soft spot for Darcey Bussell. So London may well be seeing more of him in future than the occasional `Nutcracker'.ise Levene

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.

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.

OBITUARY : Lincoln Kirstein

Lincoln Kirstein might be called a great facilitator in American arts. A man of erudition, dedication and willpower, he is best known for making possible the career of the choreographer George Balanchine in the United States. He dedicated himself to classical ballet in the US for some 60 years. He was also a prolific writer on dance and art, a poet, a passionate polemicist, art collector and organiser of cultural events, and an adviser to government. For New York City Ballet audiences, a familiar sight at performances was his towering 6ft 3in frame topped by a sculpted head and scowl of concentration that gave him the air of an American eagle.
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