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****Excellent ***Good **Fair *Poor : VIDEOCASSETTES

November 10, 1987|LEWIS SEGAL | Compiled by Terry Atkinson

"The Ballerinas." Kultur. $39.95. Highly unreliable as dance history, this two-part 1985 hodgepodge of acting vignettes and ballet excerpts casts Peter Ustinov in the double role of 19th-Century critic Theophile Gautier and 20th-Century impresario Sergei Diaghilev. As these dance worthies individually reminisce about past glories, Carla Fracci impersonates all the great ballerinas in their lives--from Taglioni and Grisi in the Romantic era to Pavlova and Spessivtseva in our own epoch. Fracci is a persuasive actress and a superb dancer. Her partners here include a number of international stars, including Vladimir Vasiliev, Peter Schaufuss and Richard Cragun. But the script is so contrived and the pacing so erratic that this project as a whole emerges irredeemably flat and mundane. Information: (800) 458-5887 ** 1/2

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