Albertine

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Zodiac was a twelve part series broadcast by BBC1 in 1966 in which dance episodes, both ballet and contemporary, were used to illustrate the various signs of the Zodiac. The producer/director was Margaret Dale, onetime member of the Sadler’s Wells Ballet.

‘Taurus’ was the theme of the edition of 13 May, which included a short ballet by Kenneth MacMillan with Lynn Seymour and Desmond Doyle. This was Albertine, a dramatisation of a story by Barbey d’Aurevilly: a soldier lodges in a house where the daughter makes advances to him. They have an affair. At the end she falls dead at his feet.

(This is clearly the same ballet which Peter Wright remembers as  The Crimson Curtain).

Fernau Hall, reviewed the performance for Ballet Today.

“Both Lynn Seymour and Desmond Doyle were perfectly cast and acted with style and intensity. The crunch came in the bedroom scene, when they launched themselves into a pas de deux in MacMillan’s neo-classical style (very much as in The Invitation): this clashed rather brutally with the extreme naturalism of the acting up to then, and shattered the illusion. The contrast with the corresponding erotic scene in the garden in The Invitation was very instructive: what worked on stage did not work on television, which has its own laws. Nevertheless the work as a whole was intelligently staged and never failed to grip one’s attention.”