The Third Leader: Big is beautiful

Share
Related Topics

Despite the usual grim toll of events, and the usual gloom retailers and doom wholesalers, 2007 is not shaping up entirely badly. Yesterday we had the delight of a teenage hero, the young sailor Mike Perham; today we have the equally unexpected turn-up of good news from Russia: 17-stone ballerinas.

Indeed: the Big Ballet, a distinguished company from Perm, home of Diaghilev, is making its first visit here, determined both to entertain and keep every little bit of imposing avoirdupois.

A timely reminder, then, as dieting Britons prepare to shed nine million stones this month, that grace, elegance and style are not qualities exclusive to the determinedly and often smugly concave. We should not lightly dismiss other slightly more slender divas, but I'm sure many balletomanes will agree that the finest dance we have preserved on film is the remarkable interpretation of Ponchielli's "Dance of the Hours" by that fetching hippo in Fantasia.

In other spheres, too, the spherical lend a gravity-defying enchantment unavailable to the dully lithe. Have you ever seen the great Oliver Hardy dance? A thing of touchingly nimble beauty, nearly matched by, say, Oscar Peterson at the piano, or Andy "The Viking" Fordham at the oche, or, almost, the Deputy Prime Minister at the mallet (by a neat coincidence, the Big Ballet begins its tour in Hull).

I myself am in full training for Burns Night, where my reeling excites awe and a wide berth for better admiration. And can it also be a coincidence that this is the Chinese year of that most pink, perky and prejudice-prone creature, the pig? We say: big is back!

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

English Secondary Teacher

£110 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cambridge: English Teacher needed for ...

NQT and Experienced Primary Teachers Urgently required

£90 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: NQT and Experienced Primary Teac...

Year 1 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Hull: Year 1 Primary Supply Teachers needed for...

Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: EY/KS1 Qualified Teaching Assistant J...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: Recall Bill, pangrams and buildings that never were

John Rentoul
 

i Editor's Letter: A huge step forward in medical science, but we're not all the way there yet

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album