The final section from Following Sir Fred's Steps - Ashton's Legacy, the published proceedings of the conference on the choreographer Sir Frederick Ashton and his work, held at Roehampton University in 1994, and edited by Stephanie Jordan and Andrée Grau.
Following Sir Fred’s Steps
Stephanie Jordan is Research Professor in Dance at Roehampton University in London where she directs the Centre for Dance Research and has overall responsibility for the doctoral programme in Dance. A former dancer, musician and dance critic, she now publishes and presents at conferences internationally. Her publications include Striding Out: Aspects of Contemporary and New Dance in Britain (1992) and Moving Music: Dialogues with Music in Twentieth-Century Ballet (2000), both published by Dance Books. For the latter, she was awarded the 2001 Special Citation of the Dance Perspectives Foundation, New York. Stephanie has also edited Parallel Lines: Media Representations of Dance (with Dave Allen, 1993), Following Fred's Steps: Ashton's Legacy (with Andrée Grau, 1996), Europe Dancing: Perspectives of Theatre Dance and Cultural Identity (with Andrée Grau, 2000) and Preservation Politics: Dance Revived, Reconstructed, Remade (2000). In 2002, her edited collection of writings by the Russian choreographer Fedor Lopukhov was published in the American series Studies in Dance History. Her next writing project is a book on Stravinsky and dance, which will examine recent choreographic productions and re-readings of the Stravinsky legacy as well as early settings of his work. As part of this project, she is developing with Dr. Larraine Nicholas an Internet chronology of Stravinsky ballets with a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Board. She has also been awarded research grants from the Paul Sacher Stiftung in Basel, Switzerland for work in its Stravinsky archive and Harvard University's John M. Ward Fellowship in Dance and Music for the Theatre (2001-2002). She has also contributed as a speaker and consultant to numerous television and radio programmes, and, in 2002, as a Stravinsky specialist, to the BBC documentary on The Rite of Spring and the broadcast of the Royal Ballet in Firebird and Les Noces. (original 1996 notes)
Andrée Grau is Subject Area Leader for Dance and Music at Roehampton University and convenes the MAs in Ballet Studies and in Dance Anthropology. After training in Switzerland she came to London to further her dance studies at the Benesh Institute of Choreology. Her MA in Ethnomusicology (1979) and PhD in Social Anthropology (1983) from the Queen’s University of Belfast, were based respectively on fieldwork among the Venda of South Africa and the Tiwi of Northern Australia. She has published widely in numerous academic and professional journals and co-edited with Stephanie Jordan Europe dancing: perspectives on theatre dance and cultural identity (Routledge 2000). Her children’s book Eyewitness Dance (Dorling Kindersley 1998) has been translated into six languages. She is currently working on her book Dance, politics, and ethics: cases from South Asian Dance. (original 1996 notes)
Richard Alston was one of the first full-time students at the London Contemporary Dance School in 1967. In 1972 he founded Strider, the first independent dance company to emerge from LCDS. In 1977, after two years study with Merce Cunningham, Alston began choreographing for London Contemporary Dance Theatre, Ballet Rambert, Second Stride and his own group Richard Alston and Dancers. From 1986-94 he was artistic director of Rambert Dance Company. In 1994 he became artistic director of the Contemporary Dance Trust and of the Richard Alston Dance Company.
Jill Beck is chair of the dance division at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. She is an international authority on dance notation and the restaging of dance repertory. She is editor-in-chief of Traditional Arts in Performance. She has been a master teacher for the American Dance Festival, served as chair of the theatre and dance department of the City College of New York, and was on the dance and graduate music faculties of the Juilliard School.
Shelley Berg is an associate professor in the dance division at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. She studied at the Royal Ballet School and danced with the Slovene National Ballet and Les Grand Ballets Canadiens. She is author of Le Sacre du printemps: Seven Productions from Nijinsky to Graham. She is a consultant to the dance panel of the National Endowment for the Arts, and on the board of the Society for Dance History Scholars.
Lesley Collier studied at the Royal Academy of Dancing and the Royal Ballet School, joining the Royal Ballet in 1965, becoming a principal in 1972. Her first role as a soloist was Lise in Frederick Ashton’s La Fille mal gardée. Many choreographers have created ballets for her; for many her most dazzling role has been with Baryshnikov in Ashton’s Rhapsody in 1980. She was recipient of the Dancer of the Year (Dance and Dancers) in 1986 and the Evening Standard Award in 1987. She is now a CBE.
Anthony Dowell began training at the Royal Ballet School in 1955, joining the Covent Garden Opera Ballet in 1960 and the Royal Ballet in 1961, where he became a principal in 1966. In 1964 he was chosen by Ashton to dance Oberon in The Dream with Antoinette Sibley as Titania, a pairing that initiated one of the world’s great dance partnerships. He created a number of roles in Ashton’s Ballets. From 1977-80, he was principal guest artist with American Ballet Theater. He returned to the Royal Ballet in 1981 to lead the company’s fiftieth anniversary celebrations. In 1984 he became assistant to Norman Morrice, director of the Royal Ballet, becoming associate director in 1985, and succeeding Morrice as director in 1986. He became a CBE in 1973.
Leslie Edwards trained with Marie Rambert and danced with Ballet Rambert and the Vic-Wells Ballet. His talent as a mime first attracted attention in Ashton’s The Quest. He has created roles for MacMillan, Cranko and Andrée Howard, among others. In 1958 he began teaching at the Royal Ballet School. In 1967 he founded the Royal Ballet Choreographic Group. From 1970-90 he was ballet-master to the Royal Opera. He received the Royal Academy of Dancing Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award (1984), and the Lorenzo il Magnifico Prize for dance (1991). He was made an OBE in 1975.
Rosalind Eyre trained at the Royal Ballet School and joined the Royal Ballet in 1960. She was made a principal in 1985 and now performs a wide variety of roles. In 1986 she became the Royal Ballet’s ballet-mistress, having been assistant ballet-mistress since 1972.
Julia Farron was the first scholarship pupil at Ninette de Valois’ school after its establishment at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in 1931. In 1936, aged fourteen, she became the youngest member of the Vic-Wells Ballet, having already made her professional debut in pantomime, aged twelve. At fifteen she appeared in her first created role, Pépé the dog in Ashton’s A Wedding Bouquet. In 1964 she became a teacher at the Royal Ballet School. She became assistant director of the Royal Academy of Dancing in 1982, becoming director in 1983, until her retirement in 1989. In 1994 she was awarded the Royal Academy of Dancing Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award.
Philip Gammon studied with Harold Craxton at the Royal Academy of Music, where he won the MacFarren Gold Medal, and with Yvonne Loriod in Germany. Since joining the Royal Ballet his many solo piano performances have included Elite Syncopations, A Month in the Country, and Winter Dreams. He played at the memorial services for Frederick Ashton, Margot Fonteyn, and Kenneth MacMillan.
Beth Genné PhD teaches dance history and art history at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her research on Ashton and Fedorovitch began when she was J. Paul Getty Postdoctoral Fellow in London in 1988. She has published in the Dancing Times, Art Journal, Dance Research Journal, Dance Chronicle and Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Art. Her book, on Ninette de Valois’ early years and her ballet Le Bar aux Folies-Bergères, is to be published in the Studies in Dance History series. Recently, she curated an exhibition of photographs of Nijinsky at the University of Michigan Museum of Art.
Richard Glasstone graduated from the University of Cape Town Ballet School. He has worked as a dancer, choreographer, and teacher in South Africa, England, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, and the USA, as well as directing the Turkish State Ballet companies in Ankara and Istanbul. He was for many years senior teacher for boys and head of choreographic studies at the Royal Ballet School. He was the founder director of the Cecchetti Centre, a founder member of the Society for Dance Research, and is a senior examiner for the Cecchetti Society. He is the author of three books and numerous articles on dance.
Alexander Grant was born in Wellington, New Zealand. He won a Royal Academy of Dancing scholarship to Sadler’s Wells Ballet School, joining Sadler’s Wells Ballet in 1946, becoming a soloist in 1949, and soon after, a principal. From 1971-75, while still performing with the Royal Ballet, he was director of the company’s small touring group Ballet For All. In his thirty-year career with the Royal Ballet, he became its greatest demi-caractère dancer. From 1976—83 he was director of the National Ballet of Canada. From 1985-1991 he was a principal dancer with London Festival Ballet (now English National Ballet). He was made a CBE in 1965.
Adrian Grater joined the Royal Ballet Touring Company in 1958, was promoted to soloist in 1964, and joined the Covent Garden company in 1970. In 1976 he became ballet-master for Ballet International, and was director of Ballet For All (1978-79). After training in Benesh Movement Notation he became assistant director of the Benesh Institute (1981), then technical director (1991).
Andrée Grau studied dance in her native Switzerland and in London, where she also studied Benesh Movement Notation. She obtained her MA in social anthropology in 1979, and her PhD in 1983. She is currently a senior research fellow at Roehampton Institute. She teaches anthropology of dance at London Contemporary Dance School, and cultural/social anthropology at Richmond College, the American International University in London. Her publications have appeared in many professional journals.
Beryl Grey began ballet at the age of four, and at ten was given a scholarship to the Vic-Wells Ballet School, joining Sadler’s Wells Ballet within four years. She danced Odette in SwanLakeAct II at fourteen, and Odette/Odile in the full-length ballet on her fifteenth birthday, a record unequalled to this day. In 1957 she made ballet history, dancing Odette/Odile with the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, and Giselle with the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad. She made history again in 1964, travelling to China to dance with the Shanghai Ballet and the Peking Ballets. She continued to dance as a guest ballerina with companies throughout the world until the mid-1960s. In 1966 she became director general of the Arts Educational School, and governor of London Festival Ballet, where she was later artistic director (1968-79). She is the author of two books, Red Curtain Up and Through the Bamboo Curtain, compiler/editor of My Favourite Ballet Stories, and the subject of several biographies. As well as numerous honorary doctorates, Beryl Grey was awarded the CBE in 1973 and created a Dame of the same order in 1988.
Katherine Siobhán Healy trained at the School of American Ballet. In 1982 she was awarded the silver medal at the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi, and won the gold medal at the International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria in 1983. In 1984, aged fifteen, she joined London Festival Ballet as a principal dancer, and in 1985 was chosen by Ashton as the first-cast Juliet for the revival of Romeo and Juliet. She subsequently danced with Les Ballets de Monte Carlo and the Vienna State Opera Ballet, where she is currently engaged. In 1990 she graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University with a BA in art history, and was awarded the senior thesis prize for her work entitled ‘Edgar Degas and the Aesthetic of the Ballet Master’. She has contributed articles to Dance Now.
Stephanie Jordan trained in both dance and music. She has taught both practical and theoretical aspects of dance in Europe and North America. Her books include Striding Out: Aspects of Contemporary and New Dance in Britain and Parallel Lines: Media Representation of Dance (co-edited with Dave Allen). Her doctoral dissertation was on the work of Doris Humphrey. She has contributed many scholarly articles and conference papers on dance, and is an established dance critic. She is currently Professor of Dance Studies at Roehampton Institute, where she leads the postgraduate and research programme. She is currently writing a book on music and dance.
Julie Kavanagh is writing the authorised biography of Frederick Ashton. She trained at the Royal Ballet School, where she twice won the annual choreographic competition judged by Ashton, and continued her studies at the University of Cape Town, where she performed with the CAPAB Ballet. She graduated with a first class in English from Oxford University, and has worked on Vogue, Harpers & Queen, and Vanity Fair. She was dance critic of the Spectator for six years and has written for The Times Literary Supplement, The Times, Dancing Times, American Scholar, Vanity Fair, The Observer, and The Independent on Sunday. She is currently London editor of the New Yorker.
Alastair Macaulay is chief drama critic for The Financial Times, for which he also reviews dance and music. He has contributed extensive dance criticism to the Dancing Times and other publications, and is author of Some Views and Reviews of Ashton’s Choreography. Since 1980 he has lectured in dance history and other subjects at various colleges, and has been chief examiner in Western dance history to the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. In 1983 he was the founding editor of Dance Theatre Journal, and in 1988 became guest dance critic to the New Yorker. He has lectured on dance in the USA, Canada, and Italy He returned to the New Yorker as guest dance critic in 1992.
Donald MacLeary joined the Royal Ballet School aged thirteen, with no prior ballet training; three years later he joined the Sadler’s Wells Theatre Ballet, becoming a soloist in 1954 and transferring to the Covent Garden company as a principal in 1959, where he was renowned as a danseur noble and an exemplary partner. From 1975-79 he was ballet-master, after which he returned to dancing as a guest artist with Scottish Ballet and other companies. He returned to the Royal Ballet as répétiteur in 1981, and was appointed répétiteur to the principal artists in 1985.
Alicia Markova joined Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in 1924, aged fourteen. She returned to London in 1929, and danced with the Camargo Society, Rambert’s Ballet Club and later the Vic-Wells Ballet. She created roles in many ballets, including Ashton’s La Péri and Les Rendezvous. In 1935 she created, with Anton Dolin, the Markova-Dolin Company. In the late 1930s she joined the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo. In 1949, Markova and Dolin again assembled a company, which was to become London Festival Ballet. Since her retirement in 1962 she has continued to teach. In 1973 she became a governor of the Royal Ballet School and the president of English National Ballet in 1986. She is the recipient of many awards, including CBE (1958), the Royal Academy of Dancing Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award (1963), Dame of the British Empire (1963), Honorary Doctorate in Music from Leicester University (1966).
Monica Mason came to England from South Africa at the age of fourteen, joining the Royal Ballet two years later in 1958, the youngest member of the company. After a brief period in the corps she was chosen by Kenneth MacMillan to create the role of the Chosen Maiden in The Rite of Spring. In 1963 she was appointed soloist, and became a principal in 1968. In 1980 she was appointed répétiteur to MacMillan, in 1984 principal répétiteur to the Royal Ballet, and in 1988 assistant to the director. She became assistant director of the Royal Ballet in 1991.
Pamela May joined the Sadler’s Wells Ballet School at the age of fifteen and graduated into the company, which she left temporarily between 1941 and 1943. Ashton created many roles for her. She was a teacher at the Royal Ballet School from 1954, and is currently a governor of the Royal Ballet companies and of the Royal Ballet School. She is Vice-President and Fellow of the Royal Academy of Dancing. She is a recipient of the Royal Academy of Dancing Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award.
Geraldine Morris trained in Dublin and at the Royal Ballet School. She joined the Royal Ballet in 1964 and remained until 1971. After a BA (Open University), she completed an MA in Dance Studies (Surrey University). She is currently writing an education pack on Ashton’s work for the National Resource Centre for Dance, and is working for a PhD on Ashton’s syntax and vocabulary at Roehampton. She teaches dance studies at the Royal Ballet School.
James Neufeld teaches English Literature at Trent University in Peterborough, Canada, where he is also Vice-President of University Services. He has written on dance for the Journal of Canadian Studies and Dance in Canada, and is a contributor to the International Dictionary of Ballet. He is currently at work on a book-length history of the National Ballet of Canada. He has published articles on Restoration drama, and on Canadian poetry and fiction.
Ashley Page trained at the Royal Ballet School, graduating in 1975. After a year with Ballet For All, he joined the Royal Ballet in 1976, becoming a principal in 1984. He has performed many Ashton roles. He began to choreograph in the Royal Ballet Choreographic group in 1981, was the recipient of the first Frederick Ashton Choreographic Award in 1982, and was invited to produce his first work at the Royal Opera House in 1984. He has created works for, among others, Rambert Dance Company, Dance Umbrella Festival, Dance on Four, Dutch National Ballet, Istanbul State Ballet, as well as the Royal Ballet. In 1990 he was awarded the first Frederick Ashton Memorial Commission from Rambert Dance Company
MerlePark came to England from her native Rhodesia in 1951 to study at Elmhurst. She joined Sadler’s Wells Ballet in 1954, was made a soloist in 1958, and a principal in 1959. She interpreted Ashton’s musicality well, most notably in the central role in Symphonic Variations and Ashton created several roles for her. She became a CBE in 1974 and a Dame of the same order in 1986.
John Percival has followed dance keenly since his schooldays, and began writing about it professionally while at Oxford. He was a dance critic of The Times since 1965, and he edited the magazine Dance and Dancers. He has written eight books. He believes he has seen more performances by more companies in more places than any other critic today.
Giannandrea Poesio trained as a dancer and an actor. After a brief performing career, he graduated in 1986 from the University of Florence with a thesis on Diaghilev in Italy. A dance and ballet critic since 1981, he has contributed to Italian publications such as La Republica, La Nazione, and La Danza. He is currently London editor for the Italian Danza & Danza and Chorégraphie. In 1993 he completed his PhD in dance history at the University of Surrey. Since 1990 he has been a regular contributor to the Dancing Times, and teacher of dance history at English National Ballet School. Since 1994 he has been lecturer and research fellow at Roehampton Institute. He has also lectured for the University of Florence, the Royal Ballet School teacher-training course, and the National Academy of Dance in Rome.
Jane Pritchard is archivist of English National Ballet and Rambert Dance Company. In 1987 she helped prepare the Les Ballets 1933 exhibition, seen in Brighton, Saratoga, and the Lincoln Centre Library for the Performing Arts; she also wrote the company’s history for the catalogue. Her publications have appeared in several journals, including Dance Chronicle and Dance Research.
Antoinette Sibley went to the Royal Ballet School in 1949, graduating into the Royal Ballet in 1956. In 1959 she was promoted to soloist, and a few months later achieved outstanding success when she took over the role of Odette/Odile in SwanLakeat short notice. She became a principal the following year and quickly became one of the leading dancers of her generation. She created many roles in Ashton ballets. Her partnership with Anthony Dowell, which began with The Dream (1964), developed into one of the world’s outstanding ballet partnerships. In 1979 she retired officially from ballet, but in 1980 returned to create Ashton’s Soupirs with Anthony Dowell for a gala, and continued dancing most of her ballerina roles until 1988. She is president of the Royal Academy of Dancing, and a guest coach with the Royal Ballet. She was created a CBE in 1973.
David Vaughan was born in London and educated at Oxford University. He studied ballet with Marie Rambert and Audrey de Vos. In 1950 he continued his studies at the School of American Ballet, later studying with Antony Tudor, Richard Thomas, and Merce Cunningham. He has worked as a dancer, actor, singer, and choreographer, on film and television, in ballet and modern dance companies, and in cabaret. He is associate editor of Ballet Review and the Encyclopaedia of Dance and Ballet. He is the author of Frederick Ashton and His Ballets and the forthcoming Merce Cunningham: 50 Years, for which he received a Guggenheim Fellowship; and he has contributed to Dancers on a Plane: Cage, Cunningham, Johns and to Ornella Volta’s Satie et Ia danse. He has been associated with Merce Cunningham Dance Company since 1959, as archivist since 1976. He has taught dance history and criticism at New York University, the State University of New York/College at Purchase, the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance, the University of Chicago Dance History Seminar, and the American Dance Festival Critics’ Conference. In 1986 he was Regents’ Lecturer at the University of California.
David Wall joined the Royal Ballet School at the age of ten and the Royal Ballet Touring Company eight years later, dancing Siegfried in SwanLakeand Colas in La Fille mal gardée while still in the corps de ballet. At twenty he was appointed principal, the youngest in the history of the company. In 1970 he joined the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden and created many roles. Guest engagements have included appearances in South America, Italy, Australia and Japan. In 1978 he won the Evening Standard Ballet Award for the most ‘outstanding achievement in dance in 1977’. He was associate director of the Royal Academy of Dancing from 1984-87, and director from 1987-90. He is a CBE.
Peter Wright made his professional debut with Ballet Jooss, and during the 1950s worked with several dance companies, including Sadler’s Wells Theatre Ballet, for which he created his first ballet, A Blue Rose (1957). In 1959 he was appointed ballet-master to Sadler’s Wells Opera and teacher at the Royal Ballet School. In 1961 he went to Stuttgart as teacher and ballet-master to the company being formed by John Cranko, where he choreographed several ballets. During the 1960s he was a successful producer of television ballets, and choreographed various West End musicals and revues. In 1969 he returned to the Royal Ballet as associate to the director, later becoming assistant director, then associate director. In 1977 he became director of Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet (now the Birmingham Royal Ballet). He received the Evening Standard Award for Ballet in 1981, and was made a CBE in 1986. In 1990 he was made Special Professor of Performance Studies by the University of Birmingham; he was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music from London University and was presented with the Elizabeth II Coronation Award from the Royal Academy of Dancing. In 1993 he was awarded a knighthood, and also became president of the Benesh Institute.