Sir Frederick Ashton


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Ashton, Sir Frederick,

1904–88, British choreographer and dancer, b. Guayaquil, Ecuador. He grew up in Peru and was drawn to dance after seeing (1917) a performance by Anna PavlovaPavlova, Anna Matveyevna
, 1881–1931, Russian ballerina. In 1892 she entered the Imperial Ballet School, St. Petersburg. She made her debut in 1899 at the Mariinsky Theatre, but it was only after tours to Scandinavia (1907) and to Berlin and Vienna (1908) that she gained
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 there. Traveling to London in the early 1920s, he studied dance with Léonide MassineMassine, Léonide
, 1896–1979, Russian choreographer and ballet dancer, b. Leonid Fyodorovich Miassin. Massine attended the Imperial Ballet School, St. Petersburg, and became principal dancer and choreographer for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes (1914–20) and for
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 and Marie RambertRambert, Dame Marie,
1888–1982, a founder of the English ballet, b. Warsaw as Miriam Rambam. Trained by Jacques Dalcroze in eurythmics, Rambert joined the Diaghilev's Ballets Russes as an instructor in 1913.
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, staged his first work there in 1926, and danced (1928) with Ida Rubinstein's experimental troupe in Paris. Ashton joined the Vic-Wells Ballet, later the Sadler's Wells Ballet (now the Royal BalletRoyal Ballet,
the principal British ballet company, based at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London. It is noted for lavish dramatic productions, a superbly disciplined corps de ballet, and brilliant performances from its principals.
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), in 1935 as chief choreographer, and later became associate director and then director of the company. Many of his ballets were created for its prima ballerina, Margot FonteynFonteyn, Dame Margot
, 1919–91, English ballerina. Fonteyn was for many years prima ballerina assoluta of the Royal Ballet. Her original name was Margaret Hookham.
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. Ashton is largely responsible for the elegantly reserved style of English classical dance, and his mature works are noted for their lyricism, quiet charm, wit, and precision. They include abstract ballets, such as Symphonic Variations (1946), Scènes de Ballet (1948), and Monotones (1965–66); short dramatic works, such as Daphnis and Chloë and Tiresias (both 1951); and full-length traditional story ballets, such as Cinderella (1948), Sylvia (1952), Ondine (1958), and The Dream (1964). His last major works as a choreographer were La Chatte Metamorphosée en Femme (1985) and Fanfare for Elizabeth (1986). He also appeared as a dancer in comedy and character roles. He was knighted in 1962.

Bibliography

See biographies by D. Vaughan (1977) and J. Kavanagh (1997).

References in periodicals archive ?
Since Cinderella was originally choreographed for The Royal Ballet in London by Sir Frederick Ashton, her role required she adapt to the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) English Technique.
After seeing the school's physiotherapy suite and choir practice, the royal couple were treated to two mini-ballets performed by all students - Sir Frederick Ashton's Tweedledum and Tweedledee, and a grand defile choreographed by Mikhail Tchoupakov.
There is also a recreation of 1926 ballet, A Tragedy of Fashion, created for the company by Sir Frederick Ashton. 'All that remains of it are two photographs and it was never set down in dance notation.' So choreographer Ian Spink, using just the photographs, has used his imagination to bring the ballet to life.
Sir Frederick Ashton later choreographed some numbers, one of which, the Neapolitan Dance, has endured-- and will live on in Scarlett's production.
Also on the program: Sir Frederick Ashton's The Two Pigeons.
La Fille mal garde, created by Sir Frederick Ashton, one of the greatest choreographers of the 20th Century, had its world premiere in 1960 at the Royal Opera House.
It will be launched in June next year with two CBSO concerts conducted bySakari Oramo and Oliver Knussen and performances by BRB of Sir Frederick Ashton's Scenes de Ballet and Balanchine's Duo Concertant.
Nothing more was heard about her sketches for 12 years,and then she received a call from Sir Frederick Ashton,director of the Royal Ballet,inviting her to tea.
But the evening was saved by the concluding piece - the much-loved Faade, with choreography by Sir Frederick Ashton and music (once again) by Walton.
Caption: Sir Frederick Ashton looks on as Dame Ninette de Valois embraces Markova after a performance.
To mark the centenary year of the birth of Rambert's founding choreographer, Sir Frederick Ashton, the company is presenting a selection of works created by both classic and contemporary choreographers.