Letter: British ballet: talent is there

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The Independent Online
Sir: Chris de Marigny has his eye off the ball ('Dancing without direction', 7 June). He attacks English National Ballet and diverts attention from the facts of the matter, which are these:

Five hundred people applied for a job here at ENB - does he really think that we are failing to attract some of the best talent available?

I chose to go public with my feelings because I think it is time that the whole issue of dance training in the UK was addressed, not because I am offering an excuse 'in case our next performance gets a bad review'.

I have no particular attachment to the 'Russian school' of training nor do I particuarly prefer tall dancers over short dancers, as anyone who has worked with me will tell him. I prefer the best dancers.

His penultimate paragraph gets closer to the truth. Is the talent out there (if indeed there is any) allowed to get through the system? Does anyone share my concern that, perhaps, we are breeding a generation of young people who can afford to dance rather than those who have the talent to dance? Discretionary grants for dance training in the UK must be replaced by mandatory grants and it must happen now.

Yours faithfully,

DEREK DEANE

Artistic Director

English National Ballet

London, SW7

7 June

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