Music: More Athletic, Less Poetic

Backstage in London's Covent Garden, the 46 young dancers were scared stiff. For one thing, in rehearsals they had found the stage floor rather rough. Said one dancer: "I've never had to darn my toe shoes so much." And the British balletomanes they were to face for the first time were rumored to be even rougher. Wailed 20-year-old Dancer Melissa Hayden: "Gee, my stomach—I'm in real pain. I don't know how I can use my legs. I just want to hunch up and cry."

After opening night last week, they felt all right. British...

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