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 Maryinsky 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, American choreographer and ballet dancer, b. Russia. Massine attended the Imperial Ballet School, St. Petersburg, and became principal dancer and choreographer for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes (1914–20) and for the Ballet Russe de
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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.


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

References in periodicals archive ?
Next up is Five Brahms Waltzes, a piece created by Sir Frederick Ashton in homage to the American-born pioneer of modern dance, Isadora Duncan.
In July the city sizzles, but fortunately nothing fazed Birmingham Royal Ballet who joined a triple bill at the Met in honour of Sir Frederick Ashton, one of the founding artists of modern ballet, whose works have an English elegance that clearly delighted New Yorkers who packed the house earlier this week.
The evening's first offering was Symphonic Variations by Sir Frederick Ashton with music by Cesar Franck.
But imagine Britain's Royal Ballet giving a season completely dominated by Sir Frederick Ashton, or American Ballet Theatre offering--and this admittedly is a trickier case--a season of largely Tudor.
It may be stating the blindingly obvious, but this two CD tribute to Sir Frederick Ashton (choreographer/director of the Royal Ballet and its predecessors for 35 years) is really only likely to be of interest to ballet-lovers -the music really can't sustain interest on its own.
There I was," she writes, "on the dais with 'Papa [Ted] Shawn,' my mother's teacher, whom I had known since I was five, and Sir Frederick Ashton, the ballet choreographer I most revered in all the world
This amazing gala night celebrated the centenary of two choreographers, George Balanchine and Sir Frederick Ashton, two geniuses who took dance in both Britain and America to heights which have rarely been equalled since.
Three years later she opened what would become a highly influential ballet school and her students included such dancers and choreographers as Sir Frederick Ashton, Anthony Tudor and John Kranko.
Sir Frederick Ashton utilized ballet vocabulary as naturally as Sir Lawrence Olivier spoke Shakespearean verse.
The variations themselves grow out of a sad, reflective melody heard at the beginning, turning to triumph only in the concluding sound-picture of Elgar himself (what a wonderful moment that made in the nostalgic ballet Sir Frederick Ashton created out of the score).
The Lincoln Center Festival will celebrate the centenary of Sir Frederick Ashton by inviting four companies--The Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, K Ballet of Tokyo (in its U.
Pelly counted among his friends John Lanchbery, Sir Frederick Ashton, Dame Margot Fonteyn, Rudolf Nureyev, Carla Fracci, Dame Alicia Markova, and Maina Gielgud.