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BBC Television's "Ballet Season" Includes Lost Footage of Margot Fonteyn in 'Sleeping Beauty,' New Documentaries Galore

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Mar 02, 2014 06:05 PM EST | Classicalite Newsdesk

BBC Television's "Ballet Season" Includes Lost Footage of Margot Fonteyn in 'Sleeping Beauty,' New Documentaries Galore

In a special re-edited version upcoming on BBC Four, 'Fonteyn ’59: Sleeping Beauty,' will show archival footage of the recently rediscovered kiss scene. (Photo : Wikimedia Commons)

BBC Television is about to embark on a major "Ballet Season" across March 2014. "Lost" archive footage will alternate with some new performances and documentaries.

On Friday, March 7, excerpts from a previously lost Sleeping Beauty film starring Dame Margot Fonteyn will be broadcast, presented by Darcey Bussell. In a similar occurrence to the famous TV showing of Britten's Billy Budd some years ago, a BBC film rediscovered and released on DVD by Decca, this 1959 Fonteyn film was believed half-lost. Which is to say, Act II was thought to have been accidentally destroyed (although the BBC of years past were known to trash invaluable archive footage to make space for the new). Researchers recently discovered a set of film cans that contained the only surviving copy of that Act II. BBC Four will show a 60-minute version, while the whole thing will be available to view online.

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Documentaries will include Darcey Bussell's Ballerina Heroines (BBC Two, March 1) and the Birmingham Royal Ballet's director David Bintley on How WW2 Made British Ballet (BBC Four, March 5). This last will show some never-before-seen archive footage of the wartime Sadler's Wells Ballet company.

Tamara Rojo, one of today's prima ballerinas and the artistic director of English National Ballet, will take viewers backstage as she prepares to play the dual leads in Swan Lake. That documentary is Good Swan, Bad Swan (BBC Four, March 9). It's going to be an all-leaping, all-twirling month...

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