Sir Frederick Ashton OM, CH, CBE was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, on 17 September 1904 and died in Eye, Suffolk, UK on 18 August 1988.
In 2004, to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth, the Ashton Trust was set up by Tony Dyson. An informal group comprising the copyright holders of Ashton's ballets, its members were: Rosita Arias de Vallarino and Lavinia Exham (holders respectively of Margot Fonteyn's original copyright of Ondine and Daphnis and Chloe), Anthony Dowell (A Month in the Country and The Dream), Tony Dyson (Enigma Variations and Monotones), Wendy Ellis Somes (holder of Michael Somes' original copyright of Cinderella and Symphonic Variations), Alexander Grant (Façade and La Fille mal gardée), Derek Rencher (holder of Brian Shaw's original copyright of Les Patineurs and Les Rendezvous), Peter Schaufuss (Romeo and Juliet) and Anthony Russell-Roberts (residual legatee).
In 2010 the management of The Royal Ballet invited Christopher Nourse, freelance dance executive and a Governor of the Royal Ballet Companies and School, to review how the work of the Trust might be taken forward. Following discussions with The Royal Ballet and members of the Ashton Trust, and his recommendation that a new, charitable organisation with a Board of Trustees be set up, the Frederick Ashton Foundation was established in 2011, with founding members Tony Dyson as a founder Trustee and Chairman, Jeanetta Laurence (Associate Director of The Royal Ballet) as a founder Trustee and Christopher Nourse as Company Secretary and founder Executive Director. Tony Dyson retired as Chairman and stepped down from the Board in June 2022, when Jeanetta Laurence succeeded him as Chair.
The Foundation's overarching purpose is to enrich the legacy of Frederick Ashton and his ballets. It aims to achieve this principally by developing the skills of those who will be registered to teach, coach and stage Ashton's ballets in the future, thus ensuring the survival of the Ashton Legacy for generations to come; and by promoting Ashton and his work through various initiatives: the creation of a website, presenting Ashton-related events, assisting writers and researchers and providing a central hub of information for interested parties seeking to explore the wealth and diversity of Ashton's contribution to the development of classical ballet in the 20th century.
A limited company and registered charity, the Frederick Ashton Foundation is based at London's Royal Opera House, home of The Royal Ballet, of which Frederick Ashton was Founder Choreographer and sometime Director. Independent of, but working in close association with, The Royal Ballet and with the Owners of Frederick Ashton's ballets, the Foundation is managed by a Board of Trustees and an executive director.
The Lady Sarah Chatto Vice-President, The Royal Ballet
Lord Hall of Birkenhead CBE Chief Executive, Royal Opera House 2003 - 2013
Anthony Russell-Roberts CBE Trustee 2011 - 2021
Lindsay Tomlinson OBE and Sarah Tomlinson Founding Sponsors
Jeanetta Laurence OBE (Chair)
Born in Oxford, Jeanetta trained with June Christian and later at The Royal Ballet Schools. In 1969 she joined The Royal Ballet Touring Company under John Field, and went on to dance in The Royal Ballet's New Group (later Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet), formed under Peter Wright in 1970. She created roles in ballets by, among others, Jack Carter, Ronald Hynd, Joe Layton and Lynn Seymour, and was promoted to soloist with SWRB. She was appointed Assistant Ballet Mistress there in 1978 and left the Company to have a family in 1979. In 1983, with fellow dancer Rashna Homji, she founded Dance Directory, an agency for freelance dancers and choreographers, which ran successfully for eight years. She left the agency to work for director and choreographer Gillian Lynne before joining The Royal Ballet as Artistic Administrator in 1990. She was appointed Assistant Director in 2003 and Associate Director in 2009, retiring in 2015 when she was awarded an OBE for services to dance in the 2016 New Year Honours list. Jeanetta has been a Trustee of the Dance Professional's Fund and the Benesh Endowment Fund and is currently on the Board of Birmingham Royal Ballet. She is also a Governor of The Royal Ballet, as well as being a founding Trustee of the Foundation. Jeanetta succeeded fellow co-founder Tony Dyson as chair in June 2022.
Carlos Acosta CBE
Carlos Acosta trained at the National Ballet School of Havana in Cuba. After winning a succession of awards, including the Prix de Lausanne in 1990, he went on to dance professionally with the world's most prestigious companies, with London's Royal Ballet becoming his home. Carlos has created many award-winning shows throughout his ballet career including Tocororo and Carlos Acosta and Friends of The Royal Ballet. He also choreographed the Royal Ballet productions of Don Quixote and Carmen, plus the latest Guys and Dolls production for the West End. He has also written two books, including a work of fiction Pig's Foot, and his honest and heartfelt autobiography No Way Home. Carlos took up his appointment as Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet in January 2021. His extraordinary contribution to dance continues to this day and he was recognised in the 2014 Queen's New Year's Honours List, when he was awarded a CBE. In 2018 Carlos received the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award from the Royal Academy of Dance in recognition of his standing as one of the most influential figures in Dance today and in 2019 the Critics' Circle bestowed on Carlos their Annual Award for Outstanding Services to the Arts. Carlos joined the Board in 2021.
Sir David Bintley CBE
David completed his training at the Royal Ballet School before joining Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet. He was an outstanding character dancer, noted for the title role in Petrushka, and Alain and Widow Simone in La Fille mal gardée. Peter Wright encouraged his desire to choreograph and his first professional piece, The Outsider, was created soon after. From 1986 to 1993 David moved from resident choreographer for Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet to the same post at Covent Garden. From 1993 he worked freelance, creating ballets around the world. In 1995 he was appointed Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet and between 2010 - 2014 took on the additional role of Artistic Director of the National Ballet of Japan. He retired as Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet in June 2019. His works range from one-act pieces such as the early gently elegaic Flowers of the Forest, the exquisitely classical Tombeaux, the poignant 'Still Life' at the Penguin Cafe' and his varied jazz-based pieces, including The Shakespeare Suite and The Orpheus Suite, through witty reworkings of Hobson's Choice and Cyrano, to the powerfully dramatic, such as Edward II, and fairytale fantasies such as Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella (2010; BBC Christmas ballet that year) and The Prince of the Pagodas. He was appointed a CBE in 2001 and knighted in the 2020 New Year Honours. David joined the Foundation's Board of Trustees in 2012.
Jay Jolley OBE
Jay began his training in Utah and later went on to study with William Christensen, the co-founder of the San Francisco Ballet. He first performed with Ballet West in Salt Lake City before moving to New York City Ballet. Encouraged by Rudolf Nureyev to come to London, he joined London Festival Ballet (now English National Ballet) before being invited to join The Royal Ballet as a Principal Artist. Following a long and highly successful dance career, Jay returned to university where he acquired a degree in Business Administration and became Company Manager for Birmingham Royal Ballet. In 1996 he joined The Royal Ballet School. In addition to his administrative and artistic roles at the School, Jay was instrumental in the development of the White Lodge Museum and Ballet Resource Centre, the first dedicated ballet museum in the UK. He also played a substantial role in the creation of the Ninette de Valois: Adventurous Traditionalist Conference, which aimed to facilitate a rigorous and multi-disciplinary exploration of de Valois' life and legacy. Jay retired as Assistant Artistic Director of The Royal Ballet School in 2019. He joined the Board of the Foundation in June 2022.
Dame Monica Mason DBE
Monica was born in Johannesburg, coming to England at age 14. She trained with Nesta Brooking and at the Royal Ballet School before joining The Royal Ballet in 1958. She was promoted to Principal in 1968. She created The Chosen Maiden in Kenneth MacMillan's The Rite of Spring and many other roles, dancing a wide repertory which included the 19th-century classics. She was appointed Principal Repetiteur (1984), Assistant to the Director (1988) and Assistant Director (1991). She became Acting Director of The Royal Ballet in 2002 following the resignation of Ross Stretton, and Director in 1992, retiring from the post in 2012 after 54 years at the Royal Opera House. Monica was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Surrey in 1996, an OBE in 2002 and the Achievement in Dance Award from the Dance Teachers' Benevolent Fund in 2003. In 2008 she was made a Dame Commander for her services to dance. She received the Queen Elizabeth II Award from the Royal Academy of Dance in 2011 and the Olivier Special Award in 2012. In 2013 she became an Honorary Fellow of St Hilda's College, Oxford and also of King's College, London. Monica became a Foundation Trustee is 2012.
David McAllister AC
Born in Perth, David McAllister joined The Australian Ballet in 1983 and was promoted to principal artist in 1989. During his time with the company, he danced many principal roles, including those in The Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, Coppélia, Manon, La Sylphide, and John Cranko's Onegin and Romeo and Juliet; in 1985 he won Bronze at the Fifth International Ballet Competition in Moscow. Throughout his career, David made numerous guest appearances worldwide, dancing with the Bolshoi Ballet, the Kirov Ballet, the Georgian State Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre and, in 1992, as part of a Royal Gala performance in London in the presence of the Princess of Wales. In 2000, he completed a Graduate Diploma in Arts and Entertainment Management and in 2001, took his final bow as a dancer. In July of that year, David became Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2004 Australia Day Honours List and was invited to become a Vice President of the Royal Academy of Dance. In 2015, David premiered a new production of The Sleeping Beauty for The Australian Ballet. After two decades at the head of The Australian Ballet, at the end of 2020 David embarked on a new freelance career, co-authoring a Memoir with Amanda Dunn titled SOAR and creating a new production of Swan Lake for the Finnish National Ballet. In 2021 he became a Companion of the Order of Australia in the Queen's Birthday's Honours list, received the Queen's Coronation Medal from the Royal Academy of Dance and the J.C. Williamson Award from Live Performance Australia. He was appointed a Trustee in June 2022.
Kevin O'Hare CBE
Kevin O'Hare is Director of The Royal Ballet. Born in Yorkshire, he trained at The Royal Ballet School and, through an exchange programme, with the Royal Danish Ballet. On graduating, he joined Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet, becoming a Principal during its transformation into Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB). During this time he performed extensively in the UK and internationally, including as a guest with many leading companies. His repertory included all the leading classical roles, including Prince Siegfried, Prince Florimund, Albrecht and Romeo (in the first BRB performance of Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet). O'Hare worked with many leading figures in the ballet world, including Ninette de Valois, Peter Wright, Frederick Ashton, Kenneth MacMillan and David Bintley, and created several roles, including Amynta in Bintley's full-length Sylvia. O'Hare retired from the stage in 2000 and entered into a traineeship in company management with the Royal Shakespeare Company. In 2001, he was appointed BRB Company Manager and joined The Royal Ballet in a similar role in 2004. He was made Administrative Director in 2009 before being appointed Director in July 2012. He was awarded a CBE in 2018. O'Hare joined the Board of the Foundation in 2012.
Kristina Rogge has held a passion for dance, especially classical ballet, since her early school days, having studied ballet to a professional level, and still enjoys taking class today. Before joining the Development Committee of the Royal Opera House, Kristina spent many years fundraising for English National Ballet School, the Dyslexia Teaching Centre, Miracles in Bosnia, the Montenegral Therapeutic Community in Southern Spain and, more recently, for the Cecchetti Legacy Project; she is a Trustee of New English Ballet Theatre and the Cecchetti Society Trust. Kristina attended the London College of Fashion, subsequently owning very successful retail outlets. Kristina divides her time between London, Hampshire and Spain, she has four grown-up children and two grandchildren. Apart from all aspects of ballet and dance, Kristina has a keen interest in theatre, music, gardening and reading. Kristina became a Trustee in 2018.
Lynn Wallis OBE
Lynn Wallis trained at The Royal Ballet Upper School and graduated into the Royal Ballet Touring Company in 1965, returning to the School as Ballet Mistress in 1969, a position she held until 1982 when she became Deputy Principal. In 1984 Erik Bruhn invited her to join the National Ballet of Canada as Artistic Co-ordinator, where subsequently she became Associate Artistic Director and then Co-Artistic Director. In 1990, she was appointed Deputy Artistic Director of English National Ballet and in 1994 Artistic Director of the Royal Academy of Dance, where her responsibilities included setting and maintaining the standards of RAD dance training worldwide, developing the syllabus and planning courses internationally for students. She retired in 2016. Lynn was shortlisted (2001) for the European Women of Achievement Awards; nominated (2004) for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award for her work on staging Ashton's Monotones I and II for San Francisco Ballet; and awarded an OBE in 2015. Lynn is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Dance and of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, a Trustee of the Dance Professionals Fund and a Governor of Elmhurst Ballet School. She was appointed a Trustee of the Frederick Ashton Foundation in 2018.
Christopher Nourse Executive Director
Christopher is an experienced arts administrator, having been Managing Director of English National Ballet, Executive Director of Rambert Dance Company and Administrative Director of Sadler's Wells/Birmingham Royal Ballet as well as, at the Royal Opera House, Assistant to the General Director and Administrative Director of the Royal Opera House Trust. Asked by The Royal Ballet in 2010 to establish the Frederick Ashton Foundation following his recommendation arising from the review he undertook of the manner in which Ashton's legacy was being nurtured, he became a co-founder of the Foundation and was subsequently appointed its founding Executive Director. His early career, following the acquisition of a Law degree at the University of Edinburgh and reading for the Bar, started with various management positions at the Royal Opera House, English Opera Group and Royal Ballet New Group. Freelance work has included administrating the Critics' Circle National Dance Awards (2005-2010) and project managing the annual Dance Proms at the Royal Albert Hall (2010-2014). Christopher has been a Trustee of Candoco Dance Company, Youth Dance England and the Cecchetti Society Trust, Chairman of the Dancers' Pension Scheme and a Governor of The Royal Ballet Companies and School. Other non-executive appointments currently include the chairmanship of the Dame Margot Fonteyn Scholarship Fund and membership of the RAD's Fundraising and Development Board sub-committee. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Meditation from Thaïs
Leanne Benjamin and Valeri Hristov
© ROH/ Tristram Kenton
The Foundation aims to realise its objectives through co-ordinating and encouraging Ashton Associates working in a broad range of areas
Sponsors and Funders
The establishment in 2011 of The Frederick Ashton Foundation was made possible through the generosity of founding sponsors The Tomlinson Family Trust and with the support of the Royal Opera House and The Royal Ballet. The Trustees of the Foundation acknowledge with heartfelt thanks this generosity and support, as they do that of the following:
The Tomlinson Family Trust
Lindsay and Sarah Tomlinson
The Estate of Judith and John Percival
Richard and Jennie Cunis
Lord and Lady Deben
John and Dorothy Ind
John and Vivien Brooks
The Linbury Trust
Sir Simon and Lady Robey
Sir William and Lady Wells
Ricki Gail Conway
Ben and Christine Wrey
Annual Reports and Accounts
Wayne Sleep OBE, former Principal, The Royal Ballet:
"Frederick Ashton used to walk by me in the Upper School and pull the hair on the top of my head saying "grow, Sleep, grow". Clearly I did not match up to the text book requirements needed to be a member of a ballet company. So I was amazed when he chose me to catch him horizontally in my arms as suitor to his Ugly Sister in Cinderella. Later he created many roles for me. Part of Ashton's genius lay in his ability to focus firmly on each individual dancer, which helped produce The Royal Ballet's unique style and a repertoire second to none."