10 NOVEMBER 1950, Page 14


Markova-Dolin Festival. (Stoll Theatre.)--Sadler's.Wells.

ONE night last week I left the Stoll Theatre in the state of exhilara- tion that can only be created by a deep spiritual experience.

Markova had been dancing Giselle, but with such perfection of artistry as I never remember having seen brought to the role, even by Markova herself. We have seen Giselle more times than we can possibly recall, but that night Markova created it anew for -me, so that every moment she was on the stage was filled with wonder that human achievement could rise, and lift us, to such heights. It is useless to try to discover the secret of Markova's art in this her most beat.tiful role—the tenderness and, delicacy of the awakening girl, the inability, of so fragile a creature to with- stand the buffetings of life, and the illusion of a being, no longer earth-bound, floating in space and caressing the ground at will. It is difficult to believe that, the performance over, she does not drift from the theatre, above the crowds and -traffic, to some celestial abode of her own. It is pleasant to be able to write thus after the fears I expressed last week.

In my opinion Dolin's production of the ballet is one of the most satisfying we have seen. Ha himself dances Albrecht with a tenderness and subtlety that match Markova's interpretation to perfection. There are -harmony and understanding between these two such as can only be achieved through years of collaboration. Hugh Stevenson's sets and costumes, with the exception of the Duke's and his daughter's, are excellent ; and the company supplies an adequate background to the principal roles. Only Cheselka, dancing the Queen of the Wills, is beneath the general standard. Although she is obviously unsuited to the part, this cannot excuse the poverty of her performance. She needs the discipline of a good classroom and a long period away from the footlights if she is to avoid ending a promising career before it has properly started.

The Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet has revived Andree Howard's Assembly Ball, and it was a pleasure to renew acquaintance with this little work. Beriosova, nicely partnered by David Blair, dances splendidly and looks charming ;n the new costume designed—like the rest—by the talented choreographer. The company as a whole is working extremely_ well, and seems to :ealise its responsibility of holding the fort while the senior company is away. If only these young dancers could take a leaf from Markova's book and regard the floor as something from which to leap rather than to land upon—and I mean this both physically and spiritually—they would add enormously to their own artistry and to our enjoyment of it.