Dance: Demiballet

How can we tell the dancers from the dance? was the question that Yeats posed. In the case of the Australian Ballet's new version of Franz Lehar's The Merry Widow, the difference is all too readily apparent. The show, now at Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center and scheduled to play in New York and London, is opulently and ebulliently staged; it makes a refreshingly short, diverting summer evening at the theater. But it is not really a ballet. The dancers move through production numbers stitched together by recitatives of mime. They smile brilliantly, toss back their heads and wave champagne glasses....

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