Letter: An exercise in warming up

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The Independent Online
Sir: When dancers decide not to perform (report, 1 December) it is not a decision taken lightly. English National Ballet (then named London Festival Ballet) cancelled a performance of Swan Lake in Leeds on 15 November 1982 in what appear to be very similar circumstances.

The temperature was 63F, two degrees below the minimum of 65F, and many members of the orchestra refused to perform as well. Throughout that day it had been promised that the temperature would be rectified, but dancers, being young and compliant, seem to be expected to cope just one more time and their needs are not always taken seriously.

The point is that highly tuned performers should not be put in that position. Eleven years ago in Leeds, the temperature was up to 70F first thing the following morning, and that was not just from the heated discussions taking place.

Yours faithfully,

JOHN WHILLANS

Twickenham, Middlesex

2 December

The writer is a former dancers' representative with the London Festival Ballet.

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