Love the painting, Basheva, but forgive me, where are her arms?
<P>Going back to ballerino and ballerini: in the Italian language ballerino means dancer, so it can also refer to any other type of dancer as well as a classical dancer.<P>Sadly, given Italy's glorious balletic past, ballet doesn't enjoy a wide following here, and the only real companies of note are at la Scala in Milan, the Teatro dell'Opera at Rome, and at Naples Opera House. Liliana Cosi still runs her company, but you don't hear about it much. Well, I don't.<P>Vittoria Ottolenghi, the critic, does a TV run showing various ballets and companies, which gets shown in the high summer at a silly time on a saturday morning. Carla Fracci still won't hang up the old pointe shoes, and I rather think it is about time she did, however charming and ethereal she is. We hear a lot about her, but practically nothing about the new talents coming up. Alessandra Ferri dances abroad for the most part, and your average Italian wouldn't even know who you were talking about if you mentioned her name.<P>Plenty of ballet schools, of varying quality (so what's new!), especially in the north and centre. But most girls seem to hanker after being TV dancers these days. Some of whome are very good, and are quite obviously highly trained in classical ballet. Others are great big galumphing oxen, who have got the dance job for being well-endowed in the chest dept. and having a good pair of legs and all the rest. The Italian male still needs the visual fix when watching TV: even the football shows are liberally sprinkled with drop-dead gorgeous females in low-cut tops. Yawn, yawn...<P>Sorry folks, went right off the subject there, didn't I?