Most recent performance
There are currently no scheduled performances of Five Brahms Waltzes in the Manner of Isadora Duncan. It was last on stage 18 October—12 November 2014.
Isadora Duncan (1877–1927) is an iconic figure in dance, renowned for her impassioned movements and her musicality. In reference to Duncan's own Brahms Waltzes, Frederick Ashton sets five waltzes from Brahms's op.39.
Frederick Ashton saw Isadora Duncan dance in London in 1921. It was to be one of the most enduring influences on his life. Duncan's freedom of movement, the driven intensity of her dancing and the way in which she seemed to fuse music and dance, were all profound influences on Ashton's own choreographic style. Almost fifty years after seeing her perform, Ashton recalled, 'She had the most extraordinary quality of repose. She would stand for what seemed quite a long time doing nothing, and then make a very small gesture that seemed full of meaning'.
Ashton originally choreographed a single waltz for Lynn Seymour, which had its premiere at a Hamburg gala on 22 June 1975 in memory of Vaslav Nijinsky (another choreographer strongly influenced by Duncan). The following year he expanded the piece to create a suite for Seymour, for a gala celebrating the 50th anniversary of Ballet Rambert – Marie Rambert, another admirer of Duncan, reputedly burst into tears on seeing Seymour so strongly embody one of her idols. Seymour never saw Duncan dance but was guided by the compendium of photos and line drawings that Ashton had collected. She later said of Duncan, 'She was a pioneer – she had a huge, strong self-belief. You don't see a lot of that today'.
Frederick Ashton created more than one hundred works during his lifetime (1904–88). For further information, please visit www.frederickashton.org.uk.
News and features
The Poetry of Ashton: Variety and originality in the work of The Royal Ballet’s Founder Choreographer30 November 2015
The ballets of Frederick Ashton share an astounding breadth of imagination.
23 October 2014
Exclusive online films celebrate the choreographer and his work, and include his signature ‘Fred Step’ in super slow motion.
22 October 2014
Audience comments from the first night of works by Frederick Ashton, including Scènes de ballet and Symphonic Variations.
16 October 2014
Amendments announced and casting confirmed for Cassandra, Five Brahms Waltzes in the Manner of Isadora Duncan, Symphonic Variations, Ceremony of Innocence and The Age of Anxiety.
15 October 2014
This pioneer of modern dance courted controversy in her lifetime, but her memory has continued to influence the way we think about dance today.
6 October 2014
Our quick guide to Scènes de ballet, Five Brahms Waltzes in the Manner of Isadora Duncan, Symphonic Variations and A Month in the Country.