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Friday, 9 August, 2002, 10:42 GMT 11:42 UK
'Crisis talks' for Royal Ballet
The Royal Ballet
The Royal Ballet has been run by Stretton for a year
Dancers at the Royal Ballet, one of the most prestigious ballet company in the world, are demanding talks with management over the way the company is run.

Performers are reported to have become increasingly infuriated with artistic director Ross Stretton's management style, which often sees them kept in the dark about who will be taking the stage in which productions.

Darcey Bussell with Igor Zelensky
Darcey Bussell is among the Royal Ballet's star performers
Performer's union Equity will raise the concerns during the talks with the company's management on Tuesday.

Dancers are close to revolt over the methods of Mr Stretton, an Australian who took control in 2001, say the Independent newspaper.

They have already held several meetings at which they have expressed "disquiet over a number of management matters".

A spokesman for Equity said the union had asked for Tuesday's meeting, but did not want to conduct the discussions in public.

Resolve

"Representatives of Equity are going to be there and representatives of the ballet management are going to be there. More than that, I can't say," he told BBC News Online.

"Our principal job is to try and resolve the issues for our members."

The union would not have got involved if the issue was purely one of artistic direction, he added.

The Royal Ballet's cast of principal dancers includes Darcey Bussell, Romanian starlet Alina Cojocaru and French lead Zenaida Yanowsky.

Out of 22 recent shows, only two ended up going ahead with the cast that had originally been announced, the newspaper reported.

'Unimaginative'

Mr Stretton, 50, is a former director of the Australian Ballet and assistant director of the American Ballet Theatre.

His reign at the Royal Ballet has been criticised for an unimaginative repertoire in which he has failed to stage as many new productions as expected.

The Royal Ballet's recent Jubilee gala for the Queen was widely drubbed by critics, one of whom described it as "unstylish and incompetent".

He is currently on holiday, along with other members of the company's management, a spokesman said.

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