Tales of Beatrix Potter

Tales of Beatrix Potter
Jeremy Fisher
© ROH/ Bill Cooper


Ashton: Four of the Best
A section with footage from each of : Symphonic Variations, Scènes de Ballet, A Month in the Country, Five Brahms Waltzes in the Manner of Isadora Duncan.

Dancing in the Blitz - Dante Sonata
Jenna Roberts and Iain Mackay from Birmingham Royal Ballet recreate Sir Frederick Ashton's white pas de deux from his ballet Dante Sonata. Henry Danton comments on this clip as do Jane Pritchard and Julia Farron.

Dancing In The Blitz - Symphonic Variations
Henry Danton watching the BFI footage of Symphonic Variations and commenting on it.

Insight: ABC of Ballet: The Fred Step
Ursula Hageli and Romany Pajdak demonstrate the unique series of steps known as the 'Fred step' which Frederick Ashton included, or at least a section of them, in every ballet (the clip was filmed in 2011).

Frederick Ashton: A Genius of the Dance
Filmed profile of Ashton with contributions from: Christopher Carr, Steven McRae, Kevin O'Hare, Margot Fonteyn and Ashton himself talking about Pavlova, Margot Fonteyn, how he rehearsed and the stress he felt. Also footage of him and Margot Fonteyn doing the Fred Step.

Fred Steps
Various extracts of the Fred Step being performed including Ashton in Cinderella, Ashton with Margot Fonteyn and an extract from A Month in the Country.

The lockdown Fred Step filmed on their smart phones by Royal Ballet dancers during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic
Versions of the Fred Step with Gary Avis, William Bracewell, Isabella Gasparini and Marianela Nuñez demonstrating the complete signature step and Claire Calvert, Alexander Campbell, Reece Clarke, Fumi Kaneko, Anna Rose O'Sullivan and Romany Pajdak in differing variations of it.

Compiled by Jill McLoughlin

La Fille mal gardée: Frederick Ashton's sunny ballet duration 12.05
Steven McRae and Roberta Marquez introduce 'La Fille mal gardée'. Together with Philip Mosley, Lesley Collier and Monica Mason they talk about the ballet's history, the country dance elements within it, the ribbon dance and the clog dance. This clip also includes excerpts from a performance as well as rehearsal footage of Steven and Roberta being coached by Lesley Collier in the ribbon dance and Philip Mosley, Kristin McNally, Sian Murphy, Emma McGuire and Melissa Hamilton practising the Widow Simone's famous clog dance.

La Fille mal gardée: Dancers in rehearsal duration 5.52
Sir Frederick Ashton's choreography calls for a high level of virtuosity from its principals. Christopher Carr rehearses Ludovic Ondiviela for the role of Alain. Christopher Carr talks about the difficulty of the steps and how they reflect the character of Alain. Lesley Collier rehearses Stephen McRae and Roberta Marquez for the roles of Colas and Lise.

Why Royal Ballet dancers love La Fille mal gardée duration 5.58
Steven McRae, Philip Mosley, Christopher Carr, Meaghan Grace Hinkis and Natalia Osipova introduce Sir Frederick Ashton's 'La Fille mal gardée' and talk about what they love about the ballet. Includes rehearsal footage of the chickens and the cockerel and Natalia Osipova rehearsing with Philip Mosley and Steven McRae.

Lesley Collier and Darcey Bussell in conversation duration 6.07
Darcey Bussell and Lesley Collier on the feel-good factor of 'La Fille mal gardée', the mastery of Sir Frederick Ashton and the challenges of the choreography. Extract of Natalia Osipova rehearsing the role of Lise.

Ballet Evolved - Alicia Markova 1910-2004 duration 2.48
Romany Pajdak performs an extract of Sir Frederick Ashton's 'Foyer de Danse' - a work created on Alicia Markova in 1934. Presented by Ursula Hageli with Paul Stobart at the piano.

Francesca Hayward's 'Fred Step'
A version of the Fred Step demonstrated by Francesca Hayward.

The Fred Step In slow motion duration 1.21
Francesca Hayward performs 'The Fred Step' in slow motion.

Ondine duration 3.16
Tamara Rojo talks about what 'Ondine' means to her. Clement Crisp explains how the music by Hans Werner Henze was written and how water is represented in the ballet. Extract of Margot Fonteyn dancing the title role.

An Introduction to Rhapsody duration 4.18
Steven McRae and Natalia Osipova in rehearsal with Lesley Collier. Interviews with Lesley Collier, Barry Wordsworth, Steven McRae and Natalia Osipova.

The Dream rehearsal duration 6.39
Christopher Carr rehearses Sir Frederick Ashton's 'The Dream' with Marcelino Sambé and Luca Acri, accompanied by Kate Shipway on the piano.

Christopher Carr on working with Frederick Ashton duration 3.59
Christopher Carr talks about his working relationship with Sir Frederick Ashton. Extracts from 'The Awakening' with Darcey Bussell and Jonathan Cope, and 'La Valse'.

Monotones II rehearsal duration 3.33
Edward Watson, Marianela Nuñez and Federico Bonelli rehearse Sir Frederick Ashton's 'Monotones II' with Anthony Dowell and Lynn Wallis.

The Two Pigeons in rehearsal - for World Ballet Day duration 20.01
Christopher Carr rehearses a pas de deux from Sir Frederick Ashton's romantic ballet 'The Two Pigeons' with Yuhui Choe and Alexander Campbell, accompanied by Kate Shipway on the piano.

An Introduction to The Two Pigeons duration 6.17
Extracts from a performance of 'The Two Pigeons'. Interviews with Christopher Carr, Lauren Cuthbertson, Vadim Muntagirov and Barry Wordsworth.

Exploring the choreography of The Two Pigeons duration 3.20
Sir Frederick Ashton created 'The Two Pigeons' for The Royal Ballet Touring Company in 1961. Lesley Collier, Darcey Bussell and Lauren Cuthbertson discuss the character of the Young Girl and how some of her steps imitate the movement of a pigeon.

Tamara Rojo on Marguerite and Armand duration 1.43
Tamara Rojo said farewell to The Royal Ballet with a performance of Sir Frederick Ashton's 'Marguerite and Armand' alongside Sergei Polunin. She rehearses for the role as well as speaking about her final performance.

Tales of Beatrix Potter duration 2.35
Philip Mosley explains the characters within the ballet and the challenges that the large animal costumes present. Illustrated with stills by Bill Cooper.


PDF: BBC Television items click here
PDF: In the Dance Collection, British Film Institute click here
PDF: In the Dance Collection, Huntley Archives click here
PDF: In the Dance Collection, New York Public Library click here

Scenes de ballet

Scènes de ballet
© ROH/ Johan Persson

Margaret Barbieri, former Principal, Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet:

"I always knew how fortunate and privileged I was to dance so many of Sir Fred's ballets and be coached by him, and now I feel honoured to be staging several of his ballets. Each time I see his ballet come to life, I realize more and more what a genius he was and what a loss it is that he is no longer with us, to enrich our lives with his moving, amusing or pure abstract ballets.
There is such diversity to his choreography, but what his ballets all have in common is his infinite musicality, elegant and beautiful movement, quick and tricky footwork, his love of epaulment and the use of body, together with his eloquence in etching the character of each role, which can make the audience laugh or cry."