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Which One Ashton Ballet Would You Pick to Survive?


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Last year, for the Balanchine centennial, Alexandra invited people to nominate their choice for the one ballet of Balanchine's that they would choose if they were told that only one of his ballets was going to survive into the next century. We got a lot of interesting answers.

Since we're still in the Ashton centennial year (his 100th birthday was in September), it seems only right to play the same game with him. :)

If you were told that 100 years from now, there would be only one ballet of Ashton's around, which would it be? You can use whatever criteria you want. You might choose your favorite ballet, or maybe the one that you think is most representative of his oeuvre, seeing as how that would be all the poor deprived balletgoers of the 22nd century will have to know him by. Or you can employ some other logic.

If you haven't seen that many -- or even any -- of his works, don't let that stop you. :D Base your answer on what you've come to know of Ashton's work.

Who's gonna start?

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I haven't seen them all...but of the ballets I have seen, I love "A Month in the Country". Years ago, in my youth, "Ondine" made a huge impression upon me...but, maybe it was Dame Margot Fonteyn that created that magic for me....I wish that I had seen "Two Pigeons".

Edited by Gina Ness
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Strangely enough, Two Pigeons. That absolutely broke my heart when I saw it.

Two Pigeons broke my heart, too. Saw it for the first time over the summer and it was the first ballet in 20 years that made me weep. It was a guilty pleasure - soppy & sentimental, you saw each move coming but had no defense when they got there! What a master Ashton was at manipulating emotions, but if I could only chose one of his ballets this would not be it. I still have powerful memories of Marguerite & Armond with Fonteyn & Nureyev - there are some blissful moments there, and 2 images that I still remember so vividly - Nureyev dashing in with the cape flowing behind him and Fonteyn's bourees after Armond threw the money at her - truly heart breaking, but still not the one ballet I'd save above all others, especially not without F&N. Fille is a good choice, it is one of the sunniest ballets I've seen. Wonderful use of the pastoral setting without getting too cutesy. Much as I love Fille I think my choice comes down to Symphonic Variations & Monotones (ok, I'll cheat here & consider Monotones I & II to be one ballet). Symphonic Variations is such a perfect distillation of joy and serenity, but I haven't seen a "perfect" production. I've only seen ABT's version and I've never been totally happy with their casting so I can only imagine what it might be like if all the roles were cast to my liking! I'd really love to see the RB or BRB before making up my mind but...I think I have to choose Monotones. Monotones I & II are such a perfect pair, to me the slight oriental feel of Monotones I really sets the scene for the austere geometry of II. When done right Monotones II is absolute perfection - music, dance, mathematics all reduced to a single image of 3 perfect beings moving in perfect harmony with the universe. I don't necessarily think that it is most representative of his oeuvre, but I think it is so perfect, it's the one I couldn't bear to think of as being lost. Even a hundred years from now, I think it would represent the 20th century psyche well, revealing our belief in the Apollonian values of reason & harmony

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