In this ground-breaking study of style in six ballets by Sir Frederick Ashton, Geraldine Morris examines the contribution they have made to twentieth century dance and art. Central to the discussion are questions about performance and its connection with style. What do we mean by style in dance? How do we identify it? How can it be retained? Can choreographed movement be distinguished from the danse d’école? Does any of this matter?
Having considered the nature of style and its relationship to early twentieth century training in Britain, Morris goes on to discuss the six works: A Wedding Bouquet, Illuminations, Birthday Offering, Jazz Calendar, Daphnis and Chloe and A Month in the Country. Delivered with verve and enthusiasm, her analysis and examination of Ashton’s role, together with that of the dancers, designers, writers and musicians, is both innovative and thought-provoking.
The book is intended for dancers, students and dance enthusiasts who have enjoyed these great works and wish to understand them more fully. Having danced with the Royal Ballet during the years when Ashton was the company’s Director, the author brings inside knowledge, informed and enlivened by years of studying the dances. The result is exhilarating and enlightening but also controversial.
Geraldine Morris is a Senior Lecturer in Dance Studies at the University of Roehampton.