Music: The Royal Danes

Once ballet was akin to fairy tales, a simple affair of story and emotion, told through gesture, mimicry and music. By the 18th century it had become stylized, replacing most of the dumb show with elegant attitudes and virtuoso movement. In this form it was nourished and preserved by the Russians. But there is one major company which still clings to the older, simpler style: the Royal Danish Ballet. Last week the Royal Danes, making one of their rare visits outside Scandinavia, were at London's Covent Garden.

To the knowing audience, the company seemed to have come out of bygone times, when...

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