19 May 2011 at 3.06pm | Comment on this article
A dedicated Frederick Ashton exhibition that celebrates the pastoral links of the famous choreographer and his career with The Royal Ballet opens in Ipswich Museum today.
Organised by the Royal Opera House, the exhibition focuses on the influence of the Suffolk countryside on Ashton’s work, most evident in his reworking of the great French ballet La Fille mal gardèe.
Exhibits include a photographic collection recalling Ashton’s long career with The Royal Ballet and costumes from a selection of Ashton works, including The Tales of Beatrix Potter and Cinderella.
Though Ashton is widely considered to be with most English of choreographers, he was actually born in Ecuador and spent much of his childhood in Peru. He didn’t come to the UK until he was 15, when he started boarding school. He later settled in Suffolk near the village of Yaxley, his mother’s birth place, and wrote fondly of the bucolic countryside of the county.
There has always been a cosy side to my nature which is reflected in the kind of decors I make for myself in my home life and in the objects around me. There exists in my imagination a life in the country of eternally late spring, a leafy pastorale of perpetual sunshine and the humming of bees – the suspended stillness of a Constable landscape of my beloved Suffolk, luminous and calm. - Ashton
The exhibition is spread across two venues in Ipswich, the Town Hall Gallery 3 and Christchurch Mansion, with associated material and events being presented at the nearby Jerwood DanceHouse. It is open until 9 Oct.
Ashton’s Scènes de Ballet opens on 28 May and will run until 11 June.