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DECEMBER 1949 SADLER'S WELLS BALLET OCTOBER 9-NOVEMBER 6, 1949.

DECEMBER 1949 SADLER'S WELLS BALLET OCTOBER 9-NOVEMBER 6, 1949 BY DORIS HERING

Each time a foreign company comes to our shores, Americans ask, "What effect will the visitor have upon our own dance art?"

Companies like the Paris Opera Ballet, the Ram Gopal Troupe, and Roland Petit's Les Ballets de Paris have done little more than make us thankful for what we have. But the Sadler's Wells Ballet ... leaves us a legacy to be pandered.

The legacy is more ideological than artistic. It has to do with the advantages of government subsidy for ballet.... Sadler's Wells ... has a company of some fifty-six dancers, all of whom have what critic Arnold Haskell calls "school", which "includes discipline ... implies quality, a lack of improvisation however brilliant, a feeling of tradition, and a non-reliance on the drawing power of individuals."

This consistency of style comes ... from the fact that the Sadler's Wells Company has its own school, which trains the dancers from childhood.

And because they are decently paid, decently cared for, and given adequate opportunities at important roles, the Sadler's Wells dancers don't flirt with the audience or push themselves beyond their capacities....

But government subsidy means more than just sufficient personnel, adequately and similarly trained. It allows for flights of fancy, too. It means that ballets like The Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and, in some respects, Swan Lake, can be literally clothed in splendor....

Above all of them is Margot Fonteyn.... a great ballerina is a perfectly balanced synthesis of technique, acting ability, and musicianship. And that's Margot Fonteyn. While she is technically well nigh perfect, there is in every portrayal a sensitivity and modesty that tugs at the heartstrings more powerfully than all the lush histrionics in the world....

Robert Helpmann and Frederick Ashton are already so idolized for their acting ability that it seems foolish to add more simpering praise ...
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Author:Patrick, K.C.
Publication:Dance Magazine
Date:Apr 1, 1999
Words:310
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