Letter: Temperature or temperament?

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Sir: On Monday evening, my wife and I attended the Palace Theatre in Manchester, hoping to see a performance of The Nutcracker performed by the English National Ballet. At 8.14pm the performance was cancelled, because the temperature on stage was 'two degrees below what is considered safe to dance' (64F instead of 66F). If the dancers expected sympathy, they certainly did not get it from the capacity audience.

My wife, a professional dancer for many years, could not control her laughter. She retired from active dancing only eight years ago, but well remembers the freezing temperatures of rehearsal rooms, the arctic conditions of dressing rooms and the draughts blowing across stages. When it was cold, she says, you spent more time in warm-up exercises. She would have considered it luxurious to be able to perform with an ambient stage temperature around 60F.

What the audience witnessed at the Palace Theatre was a dance company that, secure with its grants and sponsorship deals, treated the paying members of the public with disdain. Its behaviour was an example of 'artistic temperament' at its worst. It must be asked whether this company is fit to attract public funding.

Yours sincerely,

RAYMOND BIGGS

Lostock, Greater Manchester

30 November

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