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Sarasota Ballet to host Ashton Festival

Posted on November 28, 2013

sarasotaballetsymphonicvariations photofrank atura


In 2014, Sarasota Ballet will host a four-day festival to honour the life and works of the choreographer Frederick Ashton. Held in venues across Sarasota, the festival which feature ten Ashton ballets, plus films and lectures.

The Sarasota Ballet has presented more Ashton ballets than any other American company. Since Iain Webb took over as executive director in 2007, Sarasota Ballet has presented ten Ashton works. “Having worked so closely with Ashton during my time at The Royal Ballet, I feel it’s my duty to help preserve his great works,” said Webb.

Running from April 30 to May 3, the festival will include Ashton’s Birthday Offering, Illuminations, Façade, Les Rendezvous, Symphonic Variations, Monotones I and II, Valses nobles et sentimentales and Sinfonietta, performed across four programmes at the Sarasota Opera House. The closing gala on May 3 will include additional divertissements and Les Patineurs.

Each afternoon, the festival will present a film about Ashton and a lecture/discussion panel, held at the Historic Asolo Theatre. The lectures will feature experts such as Antoinette Sibley, Anthony Dowell, David Vaughan, Margaret Barbieri, Wendy Ellis Somes and Alastair Macaulay.

“This festival will bring together rare and beautiful ballets, showcasing the works of one of the best choreographers to have ever lived,” said Webb. “It’s going to be a historic event.”

Festival subscriptions are now on sale, with single tickets available from January 6. For more information, see the company’s website


Picture: Sarasota Ballet in Symphonic Variations. Photograph: Frank Atura


Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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