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Ashton coaches Sibley & Dowell

GeorgeB fan

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I came across this wonderful series of videos. It's of Sir Frederick Ashton late in life coaching Antoinette Sibley and Anthony Dowell in the marvelous ending pas de deux from his sublime ballet "The Dream." It's intercut with scenes in which Dowell is coaching new dancers in the roles both he and Sibley created back in the 60's. Watching how Dowell teach compare to Ashton's is interesting and I think very revealing. Ashton is really hard on Sibley at times. Not sure if this has already been posted. If not I hope you all enjoy. It comes in five parts.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

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Thank you !!! GeorgeB fan. Extended filming of coaching sessions of ANY ballet is rare enough. But to have Ashton, Dowell and Sibley working together on a masterpiece is a gift from the gods.

I've watched the first section but want to wait until I have a more extended period of time in which to devote to the entire film (WITH time to rewind, freeze, fast-forward, etc.).

I've only seen Ashton's MN'sD on video (the ABT version with Fereri, Stiefel and Cornejo). I can't wait to watch that again, once Ashton's lessons have had a chance to percolate inside my head.

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The detail is fantastic. What Ashton wants is fascinating -- and if he's hard on Sibley, look how she comes through for him. The ways she can tilt, dip and swoop without losing the continuity is already MILES ahead of the new couple Dowell is coaching, who don't come near what he and Sibley were able to deliver.

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The ways she can tilt, dip and swoop without losing the continuity

This reminds me of Fonteyn's description of her first sessions with Ashton, of his insistence that she bend and twist much more than she originally was trained to do, and her complaints to her mother that she just didn't understand what he wanted. That certainly changed!

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I don't think Ashton was hard on Sibley but, instead, exacting; they'd worked together for a long time and knew each other's working process and as such I think she relished every moment. Sibley was a true Ashton ballerina; the last Ashton ballerina I saw was Sarah Wildor who was accomplished and lush; she was in a class of her own.


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