There are currently no scheduled performances of Les Patineurs.
Skaters of all types – nervous beginners and confident experts, disgraceful show-offs and love-struck couples – frolic on a frozen lake, beneath warmly glowing Chinese lanterns.
Frederick Ashton's wonderful evocation of wintry leisure is a firm favourite of The Royal Ballet's repertory. It was first performed on 16 February 1937, with the premiere cast including Margot Fonteyn and Robert Helpmann dancing the enchanting white couple pas de deux. Its blend of sparkling charm and magnificent dance made it an immediate success, while William Chapell's elegant designs have become iconic of the era.
Constant Lambert, a regular collaborator with Ashton, arranged the score from the joyous ice-skating ballet in Giacomo Meyerbeer's opera Le Prophête (1849). In Meyerbeer's day the dancers had been on roller-skates, but Ashton suggests the gliding movement of ice-skating through a vocabulary of virtuoso classical ballet. The continuous flow of skaters culminates in an energetic finale, with the dashing blue boy – ballet's Fred Astaire – endlessly pirouetting as the curtain falls.
Frederick Ashton created more than one hundred works during his lifetime (1904–88). For further information, please visit www.frederickashton.org.uk.
Les Patineurs (The Skaters) is a ballet choreographed by Frederick Ashton to music composed by Giacomo Meyerbeer and arranged by Constant Lambert. With scenery and costumes designed by William Chappell, it was first presented by the Vic-Wells Ballet at the Sadler's Wells Theatre, London, on 16 February 1937. It has been called "a paradigm of an Ashton ballet, perfectly crafted with a complex structure beneath the effervescent surface."