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Who is an "Ashtonian" dancer today?


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32 replies to this topic

#16 Natalia

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 11:08 AM

Jane, both Wildor & Duprot have absolutely gorgeous ('angelic') faces and are shortish & 'feminine' (not stick thin). Here is a link to Duprot's headshot and bio on the ROH website:

http://info.royalope...ccs=252&cs=1227

When I first saw Duprot -- or, rather, the dancer who I later identified as Duprot through programme photos -- as the front-stage-center Dryad in the opening dance of 'Sylvia,' I could swear that I was looking at Sarah Wildor ca-1994, when I first saw Wildor in a tiny role in 'Mayerling' (Rudolf's sister) during the USA tour. Compact, ravishing of face, angelic air, kewpie doll like. Not too many dancers like that, nowadays.

#17 Jane Simpson

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 12:50 PM

I can only say that we must see Duprot very differently!

#18 Lynette H

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Posted 08 December 2004 - 05:51 AM

I would never have made the connection between those two dancers. I find the line of Duprot's neck and shoulders very distintive and rather odd.

#19 Natalia

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Posted 08 December 2004 - 07:04 AM

Jane/Lynette:

All I can say is that Duprot is a gem & I found myself riveted to her every move...well, whenever Eros wasn't dancing :). Back at the hotel, I was delighted to see, when perusing my 2004/05 RB Souvenir Programme, that Duprot is already being given significant soloist roles...there's a photo of her as Olga in last year's Onegin. Bravo!

#20 atm711

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Posted 08 December 2004 - 07:28 AM

I'm going to pull my final observation from the thread on A Week at the Royal Ballet:

It’s not that the performances are bad, but there is no dancer or dance I can point to and say, “I think that’s how Ashton envisioned it.”



Did Ashton really have a style before he started choreographing for Fonteyn? I have always felt about Ashton that it was she (Fonteyn) who gave him a style--and it was all about her particular way of moving. (With Balanchine and Farrell it was the opposite---he gave HER a style). Daneman touches on this in her book when she quotes Ashton as saying "Had I not been able to work with Margot I might never have developed the lyrical side of my work. As it was, it developed into a personal idiom". When I saw ABT's revival of "Symphonic Variations" recently, the ballet cried out for Fonteyn---and perhaps we won't see the Ashtonian style until we have a clone of Fonteyn.......He took her attributes and turned them into his Style.

#21 Lovebird

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Posted 11 December 2004 - 11:21 AM

Actually, I find Sarah Lamb very similar to Sarah Wildor. Caroline Duprot is very different from Wildor, in fact I would not have even thought of that comparison without seeing it mentioned here. She is POB trained and it shows. Her compatriot Cindy Jourdain is more Ashtonian than she is.

#22 Jane Simpson

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Posted 16 December 2004 - 08:10 AM

Did Ashton really have a style before he started choreographing for Fonteyn?  I have always felt about Ashton that it was she (Fonteyn) who gave him a style--and it was all about her particular way of moving.  (With Balanchine and Farrell it was the opposite---he gave HER a style).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Yes, he certainly did - you have only to look at Les Rendezvous, unmistakably Ashton, and made before he'd ever worked with Fonteyn. Of course one, very important, aspect of his style developed after he started working with her, but it was by no means the whole of him - he had already absorbed many of his most telling influences before he set eyes on her, and other aspects of his style appeared when he worked with other dancers.

#23 Charming_Lise

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 11:24 AM

I think Marianella Nuñez is great in Ashton ballets.

#24 Andre Yew

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 07:36 PM

Nunez is fantastic. Misa Kuranaga of Boston Ballet also has the Ashtonian style as she demonstrated in her performances of Lise in Boston's Fille this past spring.

--Andre

#25 leonid17

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Posted 13 August 2006 - 01:16 PM

I'm going to pull my final observation from the thread on A Week at the Royal Ballet:

It’s not that the performances are bad, but there is no dancer or dance I can point to and say, “I think that’s how Ashton envisioned it.”


I somehow missed Leigh Wichel's reviews when first posted and the recent posts drew my attention and real interest in his appreciation and observations on the performances of Ashton’s ballets in recent years. Ashton’s works were kept alive and authentic after he was forced to leave his Directorship, by the intense rehearsal discipline placed on the dancers by the super efficient guardian of Ashton's repertoire and martinet Michael Somes. When he had a reputedly ferocious argument with Kenneth MacMillan and was asked to leave, the rot set in.

Though there were notably good Ashtonian dancers in Antoinette Sibley and Merle Park to carry on the tradition and other dancers also, the dominance of the MacMillan repertoire and his clan of co-workers, soon eroded the elegance, charm, wit and ultimately style(which Ninette de Valois liked to call English) that Ashton had given to the RB. Having had the good fortune to watch the RB often two or three performances a week throughout the 1960's I thought those great times where Ashton supervised and created the outstanding repertoire including a number of excellent MacMillan works, would last for ever.

Although Monica Mason has pulled the company out of the doldrums into a renewed period of very good performances, the subtleties of creating a role in the Ashton manner has somewhat diminished and that dancers need to acquire greater feeling for his particular brand of musicality.

If you are counting you are not listening and you are certainly not feeling the music in every movement as Ashton required. Matching movement and mood to music was Ashton's forte. He did not apply steps on top of music for virtuoso effect. In my opinion he required the dancer to miraculously express the musical shape and form in character and in a connatural manner inhabit the music from fingertip to toe. Ashton's epaulement is continuously unique in the manner in which it is related to the movement of the torso and legs. Seemingly contra movements are blended in effective harmonious ways, which seemingly grow organically from the music. and his off centre sideways movements when perfectly achieved at speed, take a performance beyond the routinely very good and capture the extraordinary choreographic expression that is particular to Ashton.

How do you revive the style? That is the question that needs to be resolved. I do think that it needs to be learnt from school where as far as I know this did. does not happen. In Russia students learn combinations and the appropriate style from the theatre’s repertoire in class.

In restaging or reviving ballets. the RB needs in my opinion to use as many possible former principal dancers as coaches, in the manner of other companies, who then work in conjunction with the repetiteur responsible for the particular work.

Perhaps this is now happening, as I see former dancers credited as working on a particular production. Perhaps to many disparate styles are present among the dancers in the company and where what was once almost second nature, is now almost lost in terms of Ashton’s very particular style.

So perhaps whilst there are excellent dancers who dance Ashton ballets very well, do they meet the style(that so called English style) that the choreographer intended? Sometimes, almost. Do NYCB today dance in the style that George Balanchine set on his original casts?

#26 Herman Stevens

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Posted 20 August 2006 - 02:52 AM

Jane/Lynette:

All I can say is that Duprot is a gem & I found myself riveted to her every move...well, whenever Eros wasn't dancing :). Back at the hotel, I was delighted to see, when perusing my 2004/05 RB Souvenir Programme, that Duprot is already being given significant soloist roles...there's a photo of her as Olga in last year's Onegin. Bravo!


Duprot is drop-dead cute, but I'm not sure whether she's got that Ashtonian swiveling speed. (I'd have to see her more often. I'd love to.)

#27 Shirabyoshi

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 07:22 AM

This thread is fascinating to me; but being such a novice I'm only posting here in order to bump it and perhaps attract a few more current opinions from those who know more than I. Hint, hint.

#28 JMcN

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 04:13 AM

I never saw the RB in its Ashton heydey but the two dancers who currently move me most in roles in his ballets are Nao Sakuma and Natasha Oughtred, both of BRB.

#29 Mashinka

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 04:50 AM

Nao Sakuma! yes, I couldn't agree more. In my opinion, and I speak as someone who saw the RB when Ashton was around, the torch of Ashtonian style has somehow been handed to BRB probably thanks to David Bintley. Whatever the merits or otherwise of the Birmingham company it is fair to say they are better Ashton performers there than in London.

#30 bart

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 06:07 AM

It's good to see this topic being revived. Back in 2006, Herman Stevens raised a question:

How do you revive the style?

He gives a couple of good answers to his own question. That was 6 years ago. Since then, is anything systematic being done to "revive" Ashtonian dancing, or are we still coasting along depending on luck, the coaching of a few dances who worked with Ashton, and some current dancers naturally given to the style?


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