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Royal Ballet celebrates award and star's baby news
Double celebrations are taking place at The Royal Ballet, Covent Garden, with the news that its director has won a prestigious award - and one of its star dancers is expecting her first baby.

In his last season as director, Sir Anthony Dowell has been awarded the '2000 South Bank Show Award for Dance'. The show can be seen on ITV television in the UK this Sunday, 4 February, at 10.30pm.

Writing on the Covent Garden website about his last season, Sir Anthony pays tribute to the "many wonderful and inspirational people, both on stage and behind the scenes" with whom he has worked during the 15 years he has held the post. "I would like to thank them all for the support they have given me and to extend a warm welcome to Ross Stretton, who succeeds me as director in 2001," he writes.

Meanwhile, the company has also announced that principal dancer Darcey Bussell is expecting her first baby in July. A statement said Ms Bussell would be withdrawing from her performances for the remainder of the season, but intended to continue her dancing career after the birth of her baby.

Ms Bussell said: "My husband Angus and I are delighted with the news, and are looking forward to becoming parents."

The current Covent Garden season includes Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker, Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, Adam's Giselle and a staging of works by Stravinsky.

In June the Company will undertake an overseas tour, returning to the Royal Opera House for a two-week summer season in July.

Fri Feb 2 2001 (4:39:08 PM)