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.

Edinburgh Festival 1994: A Miami state of mind

THINK of Miami and Miami Vice springs to mind. In the same city that Don Johnson tracks down criminals there is a superb ballet company called Miami City Ballet. And it is coming to Edinburgh. The company's artistic director is Edward Villella, once a great star of George Balanchine's New York City Ballet. Because of this direct link, Villella has based his company's repertory on Balanchine's work, which Miami City Ballet performs with all the speed, energy and technical clarity of New York City Ballet. The Washington Post describes it as 'the nation's newest miracle company'. Two all-Balanchine programmes will be presented. Jewels (15-17 Aug) comprises three ballets called 'Emeralds', 'Diamonds' and 'Rubies'. 'The ballet has nothing to do with jewels,' Balanchine said. 'The dancers are just dressed like jewels.' The second programme (19 & 20 Aug) includes the neo-classicism of The Four Temperaments and Serenade, the bravura display of Tchaikovsky's Pas de Deux and the sassy and entertaining Western Symphony with dancers in plaid shirts and cowboy hats. (Playhouse Theatre, Greenside Place, 031-225 5756, 15-17 Aug, 19 & 20 Aug.)

DANCE / Go wild in the Black Country: Just when it seemed that his skills might be lost to Britain, David Bintley landed the plum job at Birmingham Royal Ballet. Anne Sacks met him

IN AUGUST 1995, David Bintley will become artistic director of Birmingham Royal Ballet, taking over the prestigious national touring company from Sir Peter Wright, who is retiring. Everyone has been telling him that he's perfect for the job. But Bintley, a blunt, headstrong Yorkshireman, is bemused: 'I find it curious that people are saying that as a Royal Ballet insider I'm the right person for the job when I've always felt an outsider.'

A finger on the pulse: John Adams first hit the headlines by turning hard news into grand opera. Now he's turning concertos into ballet. Nick Kimberley reports

In America John Adams is the living composer whose works are most often performed in concert. Since his music is equally popular in Europe, he may be the most performed of all living composers - no big deal, you may think, given the classical music world's antipathy to new music, and the suspicion that playing something by a living composer is a mere token, a means to secure that elusive grant. Yet Adams's music does seem genuinely popular; audiences do turn out to hear his work: recordings of his music sell well, sometimes in tens of thousands: not quite Gorecki or Tavener, but significant none the less. His operas have filled opera houses, and much of his music has been choreographed - indeed, his Fearful Symmetries has been choreographed, Adams calculates, no less than 10 times, most recently by the Royal Ballet's Ashley Page.

Dancing without direction: If it is English ballet, why does it rely on Russian technique, asks Chris de Marigny

'I FEAR for the future of British dance if we can't start producing the quality that classical ballet demands.' Thus spoke the director of the English National Ballet, Derek Deane, after hiring only one of the 100 dancers he had auditioned at the weekend. His remarks, which also included a lament for the dancers' lack of 'physicality', reference to 'things that are fundamentally wrong with the way they use their feet and legs and backs' and an allusion to 'physical damage' caused by training, caused uproar in the ballet world.

Enter: Merce Cunningham: Approaching 75, the American choreographer Merce Cunningham is like a child with a new toy: in this case a computer which allows him to put his company through its paces without breaking sweat. By Judith Mackrell

For the last couple of weeks New York has been paying its respects to Merce Cunnigham who, at nearly 75, has become the iconic Wise Man and Genius of American modern dance. Though his real birthday isn't until April, two major dance events have been anticipating the celebrations. Mikhail Baryshnikov's White Oak season at the State Theater was dedicated to Cunningham, with Baryshnikov dancing in a revival of Cunningham's 1970 classic Signals. And Cunningham's own company is currently appearing in a two-week run at City Center.

DANCE / Does the shoe still fit?: Balanchine is gone, Baryshnikov has yet to return. But try telling New Yorkers that they're not making all the right moves

During the 19th century, New York was accustomed to picking crumbs off the rich dance tables of Europe. Italian ballerinas, Russian ballerinas and French ballerinas regularly toured a dance- hungry America, yet no native ballet emerged to fill the gaps between. By the late 1930s, however, America had not only produced the first great choreographers of modern dance but had begun to evolve its own ballet tradition. Since the 1950s New York has been the dance capital of the world.

Flourishing, despite some twisted roots: Joan Brady's life story is no less astonishing than that of her grandfather, the inspiration for her award-winning novel. Angela Lambert reports

Everyone loves an outsider, the dark horse who comes up out of nowhere to win the big race. And who, until a year ago, had heard of Joan Brady, born American but now naturalised British? Not many, and small wonder. For 25 years she had lived quietly in Totnes, Devon, with her adored, much-older husband and their one son, Alexander. She published the occasional book and so did her husband but mostly they concentrated on one another. Last January Andre Deutsch published Theory of War - a novel her US agent had rejected. It received rapturous reviews and won the 1993 Whitbread Novel Award.

The Kirov's lot: Next week the Kirov ballet arrives in London from its home in the Maryinsky Theatre, St Petersburg. As at Covent Garden, the ballet shares its premises with its sister opera company, and both produce international stars. Nijinsky, Pavlova, Nureyev and Baryshnikov were all trained there. But what does the Kirov offer now?

SERGEI BEREZHNOI, a senior dancer of the Kirov ballet, is very proud of his new teeth. They are white, even, and a testimony to American cosmetic dentistry. The Berezhnoi smile, however, is unlikely to be seen again on the stage of St Petersburg's Maryinsky Theatre. The 1991 American 'Stars of Russian Ballet' tour which helped pay for the teeth was undertaken against the wishes of Oleg Vinogradov, artistic director of the Maryinsky Ballet (as the Kirov has now been renamed), and Berezhnoi has been officially retired from the company as a dancer. Now he only works there as a teacher.

DANCE / Little acorns in the shadow of one mighty oak

MIKHAIL Baryshnikov made an unscheduled stop at Sadler's Wells on Friday with his White Oak Dance Project, and was the star of the show. He could hardly be otherwise. At 45, he has found a niche for himself performing dull works with a troupe wheeled out of the arthritic ward. He is a beacon of light in a swamp of his own making.

Obituary: Diana Adams

Diana Adams, dancer, born Stanton Virginia 29 March 1926, married 1947 Hugh Laing (marriage dissolved 1953), secondly Ronald Bates (one daughter; marriage dissolved), died San Andreas California 10 January 1993

DANCE / Dancing to a different tune: Keeping music live can mean killing dance: Judith Mackrell reports on the uneasy relationship between dancers and the Musicians' Union

Jiri Kylian is one of Europe's most influential choreographers, his company, Netherlands Dance Theatre, is a world-class ensemble. Yet when NDT perform in Bradford this month it will be the first time in 17 years that British audiences have seen Kylian's work on his own crack dancers. The only other European countries to have suffered so long an absence are Albania and Romania.
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