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Monday, 27 May, 2002, 14:15 GMT 15:15 UK
Ballet's poster boys strip for advert
English National Ballet 'Spot The Ball?' poster
The National's new poster targets World Cup 'widows'
The English National Ballet has launched a poster campaign starring 11 muscular dancers each clad in nothing but the flag of his World Cup country.

The giant advert, with the slogan Spot the Ball?, appeared beside the A4 road in London on Monday.


There's a large section of the public that is not remotely interested in the World Cup - mostly women

Ian Butlin, Marketing Manager
The text lures commuters with the promise of: "180 minutes of pure artistry (and no penalty shoot-outs)".

Marketing Manager Ian Butlin said the dancers struck seductive poses for the camera in a bid to lure "soccer widows" - women who feel they may be ignored during the forthcoming World Cup.

He explained: "The idea was to poke a little bit of fun at the fact that every newspaper in Britain is full of the World Cup when in fact, there's a large section of the public that is not remotely interested - mostly women.

"We're trying to show that there is an alternative, that there's something else going on that is infinitely more interesting."

Multinational troupe

Promoters have long been searching for ways to showcase the diverse nationalities of the troupe's dancers, Mr Butlin said.

The World Cup provided the perfect opportunity.

"Obviously it's a bit tongue in cheek," he said.
English National Ballet dancers
The National says there is more to ballet than women in tutus

"The National is not as pretentious as some other dance organisations. We believe a sense of humour is important".

Mr Butlin said the company wanted to let people know there was more to ballet than just "women in tutus".

Asked whether the performers had objected to being cast as sex objects, Mr Butlin said the men were "very pleased to be involved".

The poster boys, who will all appear in the ball scene of Swan Lake at the Albert Hall next month, include dancers from Spain, France, Brazil, Italy, Belgiun and South Africa.

See also:

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