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Although Elisabeth Platel (pictured) of the Paris Opera Ballet is as radiant and inspiring as a distant star, the company founded by Louis XIV more than 300 years ago performs with the fierce grace of muscle and bone propelled through space. Nothing ephemeral here.

The Paris Opera Ballet has not appeared in St. Louis since 1988, when the late Rudolf Nureyev was director. This weekend, Nureyev's own "Raymonda Variations" will be performed, along with works by 20th-century masters Antony Tudor and George Balanchine. To classify this as a rare opportunity would be an understatement. Try "sublime opportunity."

The Paris Opera Ballet takes the stage at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Jan. 15 and 16, at the Fox Theatre. Call 534-6622 or 534-1111 for tickets.

"Everything was beautiful at the ballet" is one of the sweet, plaintive verses from the musical A Chorus Line that illuminates the eternal appeal of the art form. Consider your tickets a passport to the spirit of Paris, where everything will be beautiful.

-- Eddie Silva

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