sat 15/06/2024

Frederick Ashton

Les Rendezvous/Dante Sonata/Façade, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Birmingham Hippodrome

“The touch is light. We like it so,” wrote Ninette de Valois in one of her later poems. You didn’t know the founder of the Royal Ballet wrote poetry? Don’t worry, you’re not missing much – except the occasional phrase which can serve as an epigraph...

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The Dream/Connectome/The Concert, Royal Ballet

The Dream has at its heart a great partnership. Not just the original, magical pairing of Anthony Dowell and Antoinette Sibley, for whom Frederick Ashton created the ballet fifty years ago (thereby launching one of the top couples in ballet history...

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Quatrain/Kin./Les Rendezvous, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Crescent Theatre

It is proof, as if more were needed, of how very right-on Birmingham Royal Ballet’s director David Bintley is, that he chose to open the International Dance Festival currently taking place in that city with two specially commissioned ballets...

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Rhapsody/Tetractys/Gloria, The Royal Ballet

Is it odd that, in a bill containing an achingly contemporary première and a classic meditation on the First World War, a pastel-painted present for the Queen Mother’s birthday should race away with the honours?Not if it was by Frederick Ashton, the...

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Sylvie Guillem on resurrecting Marguerite & Armand

There's grand larceny afoot in the Royal Opera House. Two of today's stars are stealing Fonteyn and Nureyev's signature ballet, and they're leaving some spectators' cherished beliefs shattered in pieces around them. On Thursday, for the last time,...

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La Valse/ Monotones/ Marguerite & Armand, Royal Ballet

Genius does not mean having no influences. Monotones, one of the very greatest of Frederick Ashton's ballets, is heavily influenced by other works: by George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations and Apollo, by Marius Petipa’s La Bayadère. And it in...

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The Composer and the Water-Nymph: Hans Werner Henze's Ondine

Hans Werner Henze, the composer who died on Saturday aged 86, wrote the music for one of Margot Fonteyn's signature ballets, Ondine, a ballet about an inhuman spirit who longs to be joined to a man - but when she does, he must die. It might almost...

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Birmingham Royal Ballet, The Grand Tour/ Faster/ The Dream, Sadler's Wells

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s second triple bill at Sadler’s Wells this week is aptly titled "Autumn Celebration", acknowledging the season’s diverse weather through eclectic, light-hearted programming.Joe Layton’s The Grand Tour is a nostalgic 1971...

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Birthday Offering/ A Month in the Country/ Les Noces, Royal Ballet

A birthday offering, a wedding celebration - with that, and one further creative collaboration ahead, Dame Monica Mason makes her farewell as director of the Royal Ballet after 10 years. The last programme of favourites from the store cupboard must...

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The Royal Ballet, 2012-13 Season

World premieres, new faces, lower ticket prices (and the first recycled opera production). The Royal Opera House announced a bullish attitude today as it enters the austerity post-Olympics period for next season with six ballet  premieres and...

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Daphnis & Chloë/ The Two Pigeons, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Birmingham Hippodrome

There must be a protest movement going on in Birmingham’s ballet against London’s - if down south they insist on Kenneth MacMillan’s box-office blasters, so in the Midlands it’s Frederick Ashton’s more fragile work that reigns. BRB director David...

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La Fille Mal Gardée, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Sadler's Wells

It may be that there is no sunnier place than Ashton’s La fille mal gardée. Certainly there is no sunnier ballet. It speaks not of great drama, nor ecstasy, but instead of gentle happiness, of quiet content and loving kindness. Not, one might think...

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