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Mariinsky Ballet, Royal Opera House, London

It cannot, surely, have escaped the attention of dance-lovers that the Mariinsky Ballet from St Petersburg opens a season at Covent Garden on Monday. Over the next three weeks this sublime troupe offers five programmes. Predictable enough is the presence of Swan Lake, and no less so Romeo and Juliet, which opens the season. No surprises, but joy in the grand traditions of classic dance which illuminate these stagings. Very intriguing, very worthwhile are the other offerings: a Balanchine double bill that proposes his grand two-act A Midsummer Night’s Dream set to Mendelssohn music, which is a marvel, and his Apollo which, after 88 years, is more forward-looking, more thrilling, than most “classical ballet” today.

A grand triple bill of Fokine’s The Firebird (pictured), Ashton’s Marguerite and Armand and Ratmansky’s Concerto DSCH (Shostakovich score) follows, and Ratmansky’s three-act Cinderella brings the season to an end on August 16.

roh.org.uk, 0207 304 4000

Push, Coliseum, London

At the other end of the scale, I report that two performers – Sylvie Guillem and Russell Maliphant – will occupy the Coliseum stage from Tuesday until next Sunday with the return of Push, their nine-year-old double act which has been extensively toured.

Attended by breathless quotes – “geniuses collide”, “a pairing made in heaven” – the programme offers four choreographies, two dancers, good lighting, and prices ranging from £15 to £90. A short walk away you find the full forces of the Mariinsky Ballet and orchestra at the same prices.

sadlerswells.com, 0844 412 4300

Solo for Two, Coliseum, London

Another double act then occupies the Coliseum from August 6-9. Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev offer three newly conceived choreographies – by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Ohad Naharin and Arthur Pita.

eno.org, 020 7845 9300

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