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In 1935, the young Frederick Ashton joined the Vic-Wells Ballet (the forerunner of the Royal Ballet Companies) as a dancer and choreographer. He was to go on to become one of Britain’s most famous choreographers.

The story of British choreography began in 1926, when Ninette de Valois founded her Academy of Choregraphic [sic] Art. This became the Vic-Wells Ballet in 1931, and eventually The Royal Ballet in 1956. The company’s first performance featured ballets choreographed by de Valois herself and the former Ballets Russes dancer, Anton Dolin.

Frederick Ashton had started choreographing in 1926 under the influence of Marie Rambert, founder of Rambert Dance Company. He joined the Vic-Wells Ballet in 1935 as a dancer and choreographer. He stayed with the Company for 35 years, becoming The Royal Ballet's Director in 1963, and fostering an intense creative relationship with perhaps one of the most famous of ballerinas, Margot Fonteyn. Throughout the 1930s and 40s de Valois and Ashton, amongst many others, continued to create ballets for the Company. BRB has many Ashton ballets in its repertory including La Fille mal gardée, which the Company performed in Birmingham and on tour in summer 2006. Click on the thumbnails below to see some photos of La Fille mal gardée:



Although there were many other well-known choreographers working at the time, the next great link in the chain is Kenneth MacMillan, choreographer of Romeo and Juliet. He joined Sadler’s Wells Theatre Ballet (now Birmingham Royal Ballet) in 1946, moving to Sadler’s Wells Ballet (now The Royal Ballet) in 1948. He created his first choreography in 1953, following with a string of successful works, and eventually becoming director of The Royal Ballet in 1970, when Ashton retired.

BRB’s Director David Bintley is a member of the next generation of choreographers following on from Ashton and MacMillan. He joined Sadler’s Well’s Royal Ballet (now Birmingham Royal Ballet) in 1976 and created his first ballet in 1978. He continued to choreograph for both companies, becoming BRB’s Director in 1995. BRB has many Bintley ballets in its repertory and he is still creating new ones for the Company. BRB will be giving the world premiere of a brand-new Bintley ballet, Cyrano, in February 2007. Click the ballet's name above to find out more.



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