Our review: This program is ABT really pressed to its amazing limits. Birthday Offering is super-elegant, Thais super-sinuous, Awakening very moving, and the longer larger piece The Dream very fast, very clever pure fun. Not only do we get to see half the principals, all of them clearly reveling in Ashton, we also see many soloists in great roles, and the corps de ballet in The Dream is really quite dazzling. Pure joy, and a great pity to miss. (Added Thursday: the New York Times agrees. Rave review.)

“Birthday Offering” In Creation By Frederick Ashton, Rudolph Nureyev, And Margot Fonteyn

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/16/10 at 02:53 AM in
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From ABT’s “The Dream” A TV Trailer For An Orange County Performance.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/09/10 at 02:37 AM in
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Sir Frederick Ashton’s Career: Some Of The Highlights




  • Frederick Aston was born in Ecuador in 1904 and his first language was Spanish. Ballet took hold of him when he saw Anna Pavlova dance in Peru in 1917.

  • Therafter, his life had remarkable parallels with George Balanchine. He too emigrated (to England in 1919) and he too was the main force behind a company (the Royal Ballet).

  • Like Balanchine’s, Frederick Ashton’s choreographic output also was prodigious. Here is a complete list of Fred Ashton’s ballets, created over a period of 60 years.
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  • The ABT has had at least a dozen Ashton ballets in its repertoire at one time or another. The four now being performed, plus Sylvia, Five Brahms Waltzes, Les Patineurs, Les Rendezvous, Symphonic Variations, and some others.
  • Margot Fonteyn and Rudolph Nureyev should really be thought of as Fonteyn, Nureyev, and Fred Ashton, for he choreographed almost all of their performances, as the videos here go to show.

  • He was said to have the wit of Oscar Wilde, and the glamour of the British society photographer Cecil Beaton. By all accounts he inspired enormous devotion.
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  • There is a complete book-length history and appraisal of his work online (Following Sir Fred’s Steps) and also there is a considerable filmography.

  • Alastair Macaulay in the NY Times last year wondered who’d forcefully preserve Ashton’s creative legacy. Surprise answer? England’s Royal Birmingham Ballet.


Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/29/10 at 07:16 PM in
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All-Ashton: ABT Leads For The Final Performance 30 June

Wednesday evening 30 June at 7:30 pm

Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/13/10 at 02:18 PM in
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“Thais Pas De Deux” By Royal Ballet - This Only Hints At How Sinuous For Real

Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/09/10 at 04:44 AM in
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Sir Frederick Ashton Seen Remembering Anna Pavlova, Who Began Him

The interviewer is the ABT’s own Natalia Makarova, the ballerina and choreographer who was honored earlier this season for her La Bayadere

Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/08/10 at 05:46 AM in
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Margot Fonteyn Remembers Her Main Choreographer, Sir Frederick Ashton

Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/08/10 at 04:50 AM in
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All-Ashton: ABT Leads For The Past Performances 8, 10, And 12 June

Tuesday evening 8 June at 7:30 pm

Thursday evening 10 June at 7:30 pm

Saturday evening 12 June at 8:00 pm

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/31/10 at 05:10 PM in
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