The OED defines ‘gala’ as ‘a festive occasion’. In the ballet world this usually translates as a handful of stars, a mile of tulle and more triple fouettés than you can shake a stick at. Most balletgoers could put a half-decent programme together in their sleep: a firecracker duet (Swan, black), the odd solo party piece (Swan, dying), a dash of romance (Romeo, Manon) and the dear old Don Q. pas de deux. After a year being drip-fed small-screen ballet, the prospect of a little bling and bravura generated a buzz of excitement around Dame Darcey Bussell’s charity gala. The Hall (Albert) was hired, sponsors were found, eight major companies (six ballet, two contemporary) were available and generous punters paid £240 a ticket expecting big names and greatest hits.