Look out for a global Ashton feast

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Artists of the Australian Ballet in Ashton's 'The Dream' in 2023. Photo by Daniel Boud.
Artists of the Australian Ballet in Ashton's 'The Dream' in 2023. Photo by Daniel Boud.

The Frederick Ashton Foundation has announced details of Ashton Worldwide 2024-2028, an international festival conceived to celebrate the work of the English choreographer, Frederick Ashton (1904 – 1988), and to be launched at the Royal Opera House in London next month.

Book-ended by the 120th anniversary of Frederick Ashton’s birth in 2024 and the 40th anniversary of his death in 2028, the festival aims to highlight the universal appeal of Ashton’s ballets across the globe, foster the spread and influence of his legacy and encourage companies worldwide to perform Ashton works, whether as revivals or for the first time. Companies involved come from around the world, including from Australia, Canada, South America, Europe, Japan, South Africa, New Zealand and the USA as well as the UK.

In addition to the program of Ashton ballets being performed by the Royal Ballet and the Sarasota Ballet at the Royal Opera House next month to launch the festival, English National Ballet School and the Royal Ballet School will also be featuring Ashton works in their 2024 end-of-year performances.

To date, 24 companies and four UK-based schools have agreed to participate in the festival, including American Ballet Theatre, the Australian Ballet, Ballet West (USA), Birmingham Royal Ballet, Boston Ballet, the National Ballet of Canada, Cape Town City Ballet, Central School of Ballet (London), Cincinnati Ballet, Elmhurst Ballet School, English National Ballet School, Estonian National Ballet, Houston Ballet, New York Theatre Ballet, National Ballet of Japan, Noriko Kobayashi Ballet Theatre (Tokyo), Philadelphia Ballet, Queensland Ballet, The Royal Ballet (London), the Royal Ballet School (London), Royal New Zealand Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Ballet de Santiago (Chile), Sarasota Ballet, Scottish Ballet, Semperoper Ballet (Dresden), Vienna State Ballet and the Washington Ballet.

Repertoire will be announced by individual companies in their usual way, season by season, following agreement with the appropriate ballet rightsholder, but works currently under discussion include Birthday Offering, Cinderella, Daphnis and Chlöe, Foyer de danse, The Dream, La Fille mal gardée, Lament of the Waves, Marguerite and Armand, Les Patineurs, Les Rendezvous, Rhapsody, Scènes de ballet, Sylvia, Symphonic Variations, The Two Pigeons, La Valse, A Wedding Bouquet and Ashton’s choreography for Stravinsky’s opera Le Rossignol.

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