Letter: Royal Ballet School is a leap behind

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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.

Anyone who - as I do - regularly sees performances by the schools of New York City Ballet and the Paris Opera Ballet will know that they are a quantum leap ahead of the current Royal Ballet School output. This is confirmed by the astonishing technique and maturity of the younger members of the NYCB and Paris companies: those of the Kirov, now astonishing and delighting London audiences, are no less impressive.

Incidentally, it is extremely rare for an Industrial Tribunal to award the maximum compensation - as it did to Linda Goss - merely "because her redundancy was not handled correctly on technical procedural grounds". The tribunal may have dismissed the rest of her allegations but almost certainly had them in their minds when awarding the maximum amount.

Lord Sterling clearly protests too much; the Royal Ballet School is not what it was.

MICHAEL VARCOE-COCKS

London W6

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