The late Princess Diana will soon be dancing in a Russian ballet. What a headline! And like most strange stories about Princess Diana, there is a grain of truth amid the mystery.
In this case, a Russian theater company is preparing to perform a new British ballet on the life and death of Diana, princess of Wales, titled "A Princess of Modernity."
The ballet was written by British psychologist and composer Keith Hearne, who told ABC News, "The ballet depicts the story of a girl who marries a 'prince of tradition.' She becomes the 'princess of modernity.'
"However, her modern attitudes clash with those of the prince. The girl will not conform to the expected role, the prince does not change, and so the inevitable breakup is enacted -- followed by unexpected tragedy."
Hearne also told ABC News about his reaction to Diana's death, "She was a young person, a remarkable woman, her humanity influenced the whole world."
He added, "When she died, it was a shock to me, it was a shock to many people, many hundreds of millions all over the world. And it touched on something that was spiritual in us all. So that was the spark for the ballet within me. I knew I had to write something about this. It has taken me many years, but it's now ready and available."
The Diana ballet will be performed initially by the Premiera company in Moscow, and is expected to open at the Stanislavsky Nemirovich-Danchenko Theatre in the fall.
Ilse Liepa, a principal ballerina for the Bolshoi ballet, will reportedly take the lead in the production. Organizers have not decided who will play the prince of tradition (undoubtedly meant to be Prince Charles).
Olga Lyakina, the general director of Premiera, told ABC News that Liepa was chosen for the main role "because she will be able to reflect Diana's beauty, her personality and all her subtleties through her movement and dancing."
Some of the 32 pieces, according to the ballet Web site, include "Dance of the young Princess-to-be," in which a young dancer portrays the princess in her childhood taking a ballet lesson. There are bursts of her individuality.
"Dance of the Prince of Tradition," reveals the prince's introspective nature. "The Children's Princess" shows the princess playing with children and remembering her own initial happiness with the prince. In "Love and Sadness," the royal relationship is shown collapsing, causing causing the princess much emotional hurt. A mandolin is used to express the princess's emotions in this piece.
That's quite a posthumous promotion. Diana may have been dubbed "the people's princess," but she was not a queen.
If all this sounds almost as if Diana has come back to life, in a way she has -- at least in the media.
Even in death, she still sells all kinds of publications. The British tabloid media is slowly working itself into a frenzy as it prepares for August 31, 2007, the 10th anniversary of Diana's death in a car crash in Paris.
In Russia, Olga Lyakina told ABC News that "Diana has many fans. Russian visitors to London often buy souvenirs of the princess when they are there."
"In fact," Lyakina added, "I personally know people who keep photographs of Diana in their homes. They appreciate her beauty, the difficulties she faced, and all that she did for society."
The reasons for the continued high interest are at least twofold.