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A Royal June: Reviews of The Royal Ballet in New York, Live and on Film

by Mindy Aloff
July 7, 2015
New York, NY
The Royal Ballet
La Fille mal gardée by Frederick Ashton
April 23, 2015
Covert Garden, London
HD film projection June 10, 2015, Symphony Space, NYC

Rare Royal Ballet Films,
with Alastair Macaulay, Dance Critic, The New York Times
June 22, 2015
Bruno Walter Auditorium,
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center

Dame Monica Mason, Director Emerita, The Royal Ballet,
in conversation with David Pickering, Educational Administrator, Royal Ballet
June 24, 2015
Bruno Walter Auditorium,
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center

The Royal Ballet
David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center
June 23-28, 2015
The Joyce Theater Foundation, Producer
On many short lists of "the greatest ballets ever," Frederick Ashton's two-act, La Fille mal gardée would merit a spot. Confected for The Royal Ballet some 55 years ago and today performed by ballet companies around the world, this version of Fille (the most recent among several from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries) is a joyous and exquisite comedy, built from robust ancient marriage-plot elements and styled by masters of aesthetic discernment. The story concerns a barnyard romance that triumphs over money and position, the charm of whose telling seems as fresh as this morning and the context of whose actions is provided by Osbert Lancaster's enchantingly watercolored and perfectly proportioned pastoral designs. Ashton's treasury of dancing and social encounters has been fitted to a brilliantly tessellated mosaic of instrumental themes and excerpts, crafted by John Lanchbery, the Royal's principal conductor between 1959 and 1972. Lanchbery's musical world for Fille, derived from scores for previous Fille ballets and compositions for theaters and concert halls of the 18th and 19th centuries, adds up to one of the most danceable (and listenable) scores ever devised for ballet. With judicious casting, audiences may sit down to look at this version of Fille in a critical temper, but they leave the theater simply longing to live in that late-summer world of uncynical art.

Early this June, at Symphony Space, New Yorkers were treated to an HD projection of a film showing The Royal Ballet in an April performance of Fille at Covent Garden, with Natalia Osipova making her debut as Lise and Steven McRae as Colas. It was bliss: sparkling, generous, funny, exquisitely musical, meticulously rehearsed. Osipova—a natural spitfire and often a chin-first mischief-maker on stage, as well as a technician of such bravura that, as a friend remarked, when she dances on pointe it's as if she's dancing barefoot—gave us a Lise who could change her moods in a flick and land a huge, high, double saut de basque, in regulation fifth position, on a farthing. McRae, a precision speedster whose characters can morph in a moment from bluff to bullying, shaped a boyishly affectionate Colas who developed palpable chemistry with this Lise. At intermission, some members of the audience who have witnessed several generations of Lises and Colases, and so knew what the range of performance choices can be, were glimpsed in admiring tears.

That film gave us a standard for The Royal Ballet of 2015 at full artistry in terms of the dancing, the storytelling, and the characterizations. How lucky we were to see it—and within two weeks of the company's actual visit to Lincoln Center's Koch Theater, where The Royal Ballet was presented for seven performances, in two programs, by The Joyce Theater Foundation. (The Joyce Theater, New York's Chelsea-neighborhood producer, is only a tenth the size of the Koch and so houses its big ballet presentations uptown.) Although the visit was bannered as the first time the company was performing in New York in eleven years, the Koch appearance was actually part of a three-city U.S. tour: They also danced for several performances each in Chicago (for the first time in 37 years!) and Washington, D.C., where they last appeared in 2009, practically yesterday. (In fact, large ballet companies of international stature that routinely bypass New York perform at Washington's Kennedy Center with comparative frequency.) In both of those venues The Royal Ballet's program was their surefire audience-pleaser, the full-evening, conventional production of Don Quixote, staged by the company's 42-year-old star Carlos Acosta, who also starred as Basilio. It isn't clear whether this was chosen because company management thought that U.S. audiences outside New York are more conservative in their entertainment choices (with the dancing available on YouTube now, there is no "outside" New York: Everyone anywhere can access everything) or are more attached to evening-length ballets or are more intensely Carlos Acosta fans, but the idea that, in the 21st century, New Yorkers might still be more adventuresome and sophisticated than the rest of the U.S., as they were over much of the 20th, is very sweet.

While The Royal's dancers look exquisitely curated themselves—and the men of the company, many of them tall and muscled, look quite buff, too—in terms of choreography, the New York offerings, all one-acts and excerpts, showed the company as a kind of museum of British ballet, with historical and cutting-edge contemporary wings, maintained in pretty good shape by dancers from around the world. Given the conventional marketing wisdom that programs of short dances don't sell anywhere near as much as full-lengths, the programming strategy for the 2,500+ -seat Koch seemed something of a risk, though, as critic Marina Harss observed, the concepts for the programming must have seemed persuasive on paper. There was an easing-in to the idea of The Royal Ballet over the week. Monday evening, critic Alastair Macaulay—intense Royal Ballet-watcher for several decades—collaborated with the staff of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts to present a most coherent and illuminating program of films and commentary about the company between the 1940s and 1970s. Then, in terms of what the company itself provided, two days later Dame Monica Mason, the Royal's director emerita, offered an onstage interview, free to the public, about the company and its repertory, with special emphasis on her position as assistant to Kenneth MacMillan and his accent on risktaking. Perhaps the most shocking thing this reporter heard her say was that dance notation (whose use is a subject of controversy in American dance) is very rarely wrong.

For Tuesday's gala, the program consisted only of Ashton's reliably entertaining one-act homage to Shakespeare, The Dream, to Mendelssohn, with an American-born Titania, Sarah Lamb, and Australian native Steven McCrae as her Oberon).

The full Program A went on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, with two famous one-acts by The Royal's two most influential choreographers—The Dream and Kenneth MacMillan's 1965 Song of the Earth, to the last song cycle of Gustav Mahler's composition of the same name—each with alternate casts. This program, a catch-up on Royal Ballet history for young audiences or dancegoers new to the company, was also appealing to The Royal's "old" audience and connoisseurs who remembered the company's annual New York visits with the living Ashton and then MacMillan directing. (While The Dream is regularly danced, and marvelously, by American Ballet Theatre in New York, it's a work that anyone who enjoys ballet can see repeatedly, and so there's a kind of sense in The Royal's fielding it here for New Yorkers to make comparisons between British and American casts. Song—MacMillan's own favorite of his ballets, the one he said he'd like to be remembered for—isn't everyone's preference, but it hadn't been seen in New York since 1976 and so arrived wrapped in legend.) Then came something for The Royal's younger audiences: the tasting-table from the past four decades of Program B, whose eight elements—one-acts, divertissement, and excerpts –represented eight British choreographers, of whom five are still alive and kicking (Wayne McGregor, The Royal's current resident choreographer; Alastair Marriott, a principal character artist; Calvin Richardson, a young dancer with the company; Christopher Wheeldon, an artistic associate in choreography and a product of The Royal's school as well as a former dancer with the company; and Liam Scarlett, a former company dancer still in his 20s who is now associated with The Royal as "artist in residence—choreography").

This program had a something-for-everyone aspect that theoretically appeals to all ages but, in fact, wasn't appealing enough to fill the Koch by the end of the run. Newspaper and major Web reviews of it were, to put it mildly, mixed. Of the two-and-a-half hours or so of choreography, I could recommend unequivocally, to anyone, some ten or fifteen minutes, comprised of two pas de deux (one by Ashton and one by MacMillan) and a solo (by Bronislava Nijinska). Ashton's 1977 "Voices of Spring" pas de deux, made as a divertissement for a Royal Opera production of Die Fledermaus, is set to the waltz of that name, by Johann Strauss the Younger, which Balanchine choreographed the same year in his Vienna Waltzes. The fantasies are quite unalike. Balanchine's is set in the Vienna Woods, for a large ensemble of waltzers, with the men in period evening wear and the women in ball gowns and heeled shoes. Ashton's is a classical pas de deux, bravura in the Bolshoi manner, the ballerina on point. It opens with the man hoisting her aloft with one arm, like a revolutionary's flag, as—in an evocation of Ashton's beloved Isadora Duncan—she gradually releases flower petals in their wake. The couple I saw, Akane Takada and Valentino Zucchetti, were brilliant exemplars, breathing in synch.

MacMillan's "If I Loved You" duet, from the 1992 Nicholas Hytner production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel (last seen in New York in 1994), is a heartrending presentation of teen passion, now graceful and grand and now awkward and aptly embarrassing, all the while gradually revealing the specific personalities of the boy and the girl. (I saw Lauren Cuthbertson and Matthew Golding in it, but the alternate cast, Sarah Lamb and Carlos Acosta, were also surely affecting.) The orchestra, under Barry Wordsworth's baton, sounded especially wonderful in the Rodgers. Finally, my recommended solo—"Le Beau Gosse," to Darius Milhaud, from the 1924 winking society ballet, Le train bleu—was unlike anything else in The Royal's Koch season. Danced by a character supposed to be a champion swimmer (as well as a beautiful fellow), the choroegraphy was made for Anton Dolin, who had acrobatic skills, and its eyepoppingly clear dynamics and cookie-cutter images include two diagonals of cartwheels, every other cartwheel performed one-handed. Dolin's contributions to British ballet were significant, such as his 1930s company with his Diaghilev Ballets Russes colleague Alicia Markova (like Dolin, a British native) and, in this case, the reconstruction of the "Beau Gosse" solo, in 1982, for Royal Ballet dancer Stephen Beagley. (In 1989, as Nijinska biographer Lynn Garafola chronicled in Dance Magazine, the dance historian Frank W.D. Ries, after consulting with Dolin, reconstructed the entire Le train bleu for the Oakland Ballet, which was then vetted, edited, and coached by Nijinska's daughter, Irina Nijinska.) I saw the solo performed by both Vadim Muntagirov and James Hay, and, each time, it was powerful and charismatic, even though it was offered, essentially, as an historical footnote rather than a living image of masculinity. The living images were intended to be the male solos by Alastair Marriott ("Borrowed Light," a kind of classroom exercise in leaping, with an inexplicable focus in one corner of the stage) and a jookin-inspired version, by Calvin Richardson, of "The Dying Swan."

No solos for women were on this program, and many of the feminine images we did see were somnambulistic or stifled in emotional bondage of some sort. Christopher Wheeldon—a Tony winner for his choreography in the Broadway show An American in Paris—was represented on Program B by the pas de deux from his 2013 Aeternum. An award-winning ballet in London, but, it would seem, a dreary one, set to music by Benjamin Britten ("Sinfonia da requiem") in a dour mood ("as resistant to dance as one might imagine" the veteran critic Clement Crisp described it), with the ballerina reduced to the danseur's cataleptic partner. Furthermore, the visual effect of the around-the-waist, intensively manipulating male-female partnering for most of the six couples in the lead work on the program—Wayne McGregor's 2008 Infra (Latin for below)—set a tone about sexual power relationships that only the works by Ashton and MacMillan resisted. A couple of elements in each of those brought the ballerina—and, thereby, the couple—to full, flaring life. One is that the man and the woman were each given a full solo passage, thereby creating themselves as individual presences apart from their roles in partnered sections. Another key element is that the technique of the partnering did not rely on around-the-woman's-waist grips or images of the man arranging the woman's body from without. Even the thrilling tricks, like the one-handed lift in the Ashton or a suspenseful maneuver in the MacMillan when the woman seems to jump and get caught upside-down by her partner, leave the impression that the figures collaborate to produce their stunning effects.

Happily, although The Royal's dancers arrive at the company these days from all over the world, with comparatively few trained for more than a year, if that, at The Royal's own school, the impression this little season conveyed is that the dancers make up a remarkable ensemble stylistically, with depth of casting at all ranks and with many of the corps de ballet capable not only of the Cecchetti footwork and style that were once The Royal's trademarks (one of the things, perhaps, the inclusion of The Dream, with its demanding pointe ensembles for the corps, demonstrated) but also of all kinds of freaky and geeky physicality, from pop-dance robotic isolations of the limbs to the eel-like use of the back associated with McGregor's dancemaking. The principals, for the most part, are also adept in dance acting. And The Royal of 2015 is decidedly musical. Although the company did not supply their own orchestra—calling, instead, on the orchestra of the New York City Ballet—it did bring two conductors and their own pianists, all of whom provided high musical standards; NYCB's orchestra, playing for the visitors, sounded like a newly energized band. However, for the ruminative lyrics of Mahler's "Song of the Earth," The Royal also fielded mezzo Katharine Goeldner and tenor Thomas Randle, whom the New York critics I read all found wanting. "Can't the Royal afford first-rate singers?" Robert Gottlieb asked in his review of the company, in The New York Observer. To my own untutored ear, although these singers didn't rival, say, Marilyn Horne and Placido Domingo, they were good enough for Mahler (not my favorite composer). But since so many critics rated them, I began to wonder why The Royal, otherwise musically wise, brought them?

Was money, rather than art, the chief consideration in this Royal Ballet tour stop in New York? In looking up the background of the mezzo and tenor for Song of the Earth, I discovered that the company's "Dream/Song" program goes back to 2012, with the same casts of dancers and the same singers (who were, in 2012, praised internationally, including by critics in New York). The program of Ashton/MacMillan masterpieces was a readymade, like Acosta's Don Quixote. Perhaps The Royal wasn't thinking of what New York critics and balletomanes—a fraction of the ticket-buying public—would like to see this year. Perhaps it was thinking of what wouldn't break the budget to import, surely. Furthermore, on the second program, the concerns for inclusion of any particular ballet or excerpt had to take in the commercial, which translates to a gamble on what New York dance audiences would buy tickets for, based on what they bought tickets for in the immediate past. And that commercial concern is quite in keeping with The Royal's identity vis-à-vis New York, the Q.E.D.example being Sol Hurok's demand that Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev star in the city's premiere of Romeo and Juliet, a bet that, financially, paid off in sold-out houses. This time, though, the company wasn't fielding luminaries of the wattage of Fonteyn and Nureyev; even so, the programming did seem to follow certain notions that went without saying: Classical tutu ballets don't sell. Choreography that transgresses the principles of danse d'école does sell. And remember that women buy the most tickets to ballet performances and women have revealed, with their receipts for copies of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy and movie, that they're actually interested in partnering where men put them, literally, in their place.

When I was a kid, I used to look forward to the ballet because the marriage of dancing and music provided a model of what it means for the world to feel whole. This feeling, partially determined by what one brings to the theater subjectively, is somewhat different from a critical evaluation of aesthetic quality. At the Koch, I felt the sense of wholeness most fully in the Cuthbertson-Golding performance of the MacMillan duet from Carousel, which I loved all of, and in the solemn, concluding walk downstage for the three linked principals in Song of the Earth, which I didn't much like. As it happened, Lauren Cuthbertson was also the female lead in the performance of Song I attended, with Ryoichi Hirano as The Man and, as the Messenger of Death, Edward Watson. But I don't think it was these particular principals who created that holistic feeling, and I don't think that greater singers would have made it more likeable to me. It was the construction of the ballet above all, I believe, that made me feel the ending in a primal way, even though, artistically, I disliked it. Surely the other casts of Marianela Nuñez or Laura Morera, Nehemiah Kish, and Acosta as the Messenger were also affecting. To be moved by a ballet one dislikes isn't a common experience but, in this case, it was mine.

In contrast, Program B's final one-act—the 2014 story ballet The Age of Anxiety, by The Royal's current resident choreographer, Liam Scarlett, a work about the intense pursuit of wholeness by a quartet of Americans during the era of the Second World War—is built from skillfully deployed elements I appreciated intellectually but that left me ice cold. The actions of Scarlett's ballet evoke the 1949 Age of Anxiety, which Jerome Robbins choreographed to Bernstein's score for the New York City Ballet, but they seem to evoke the problems of that antecedent as well. Bernstein, Robbins, and Anxiety's scenic designer, Oliver Smith, had collaborated with joyful success on the 1944 one-act ballet Fancy Free, and the composer and choreographer went back to the well the same year, with Betty Comden and Adolph Green, for On the Town, the Broadway show that evolved from Fancy Free. But "joy" is hardly the word for Bernstein's raucous, ugly, intermittently angry and sentimental Second Symphony, written for the concert hall, which Robbins decided to stage at NYCB in the late Forties. Nor is "joy" exactly right for the score's inspiration: W.H. Auden's book-length philosophical poem of 1947, "The Age of Anxiety: A Baroque Eclogue," about a handful of New York solitaries who meet in a Third Avenue bar and, through classically metered colloquies, spend the evening in an effort to figure out the meaning of life. Scarlett's ballet pays homage to Auden and Robbins in its lavish settings by John Macfarlane, lit with unparalleled sensitivity by Jennifer Tipton (a well-stocked bar in both seductively indirect and bruisingly overhead lighting, a late-night street, a view of New York's skyscraper canyons from the picture window of an Upper East Side penthouse, and sunrise on the city in excelsis). Auden's poem, cast in alliterative tetrameter (evoking Old English elegies, such as "The Seafarer": One of the characters is in the Navy), won the Pulitzer in 1948 over the dead bodies of John Berryman and other major poets and critics, who reviled it in print as more or less the detritus of Auden's having written himself into a wall. (Marianne Moore and Jacques Barzun defended it.)

Scarlett's ballet follows the Bernstein-Auden blueprint. Three guys in street clothes and a dame in high heels are the principal characters. Auden names them: Malin, a Canadian airman (Federico Bonelli in the cast I saw); Quant, a clerk (Johannes Stepanek); Rosetta, a Jewish buyer for a department store (Sarah Lamb); and Emble, a young member of the Navy (Alexander Campbell). They hit it off; drink; seem to converse (in dumbshow); move from the bar itself to a banquette and back; turn the wall-mounted jukebox on and off (it plays nothing but Bernstein's symphony, so it's unclear why they bother), dance classical ballet solos of puzzling difficulty; are inhospitable to a soldier and his date (Matthew Ball and Nathalie Harrison), causing the couple to leave; flirt with one another but never go further than that, even in the penthouse; do nothing when Tipton's bar lighting suddenly goes noir and the demonic barkeep (David Donnelly), eyes glittering, jumps onto the bar itself, takes their credit cards (in the 1940s?), and leaves the establishment altogether, essentially giving these drunken sots the entire stock of liquor. Yet no one steals anything. Only one of the four solitaries goes to the john, although all of them imbibe continually.They dance more. The barkeep returns, exposes their unkempt reality by flipping on the overhead light, and throws 'em out with an eloquent thumb. They step outside to look for taxis.

No taxis. Rosetta invites the other three back to her place, which turns out to be a ritzy Upper East Side penthouse. No one else is there, not even the hired help. The quartet dance a few more variations, this time really letting down their hair and venturing to dance together, using some Latin-dance steps, as well as elements from the danse d'école. Philosophy hangs in the air, next to some of Bernstein's intermittently raucous chords and Emble copping a feel from another guy while pretending interest in Rosetta. Rosetta, increasingly a cat in heat, seems to intuit that her guests have a subtext and mourns getting stuck with Emble, who is evidently the most interested of the bunch in other guys but has no place to sleep, so he sacks out on Rosetta's window seat before she can even attempt to unbutton his fly. She clings to the curtains and rubs her thighs together in parallel position: Philosophical phornication? Eventually, the choreographer gets Quant and Malin out to the street again and suddenly the meditations on the meaning of it all funnel down to the older guy giving the younger an unexpected kiss, followed by the offer of a business card and a little soft shoe stage left. The younger guy, dropping the card in the gutter, is left alone to watch Jennifer Tipton's magnificent sunrise flower over the skyline as Berstein pumps up some optimism in the loud, string-heavy, swelling finale.

Having read portions of the poem, I know that Auden had more serious fish to fry, so to speak, but is this what Auden's philosophy amounted to for Bernstein and Robbins: a furtive feel, two men kissing, a sexed-up woman without the prospect of a partner, and the dawning of personal ambition? There are no films of the Robbins Age of Anxiety, and even the extensive entry for it in Nancy Reynolds's Repertory in Review: 40 Years of the New York City Ballet doesn't really give a sense of what went on in the Audenesque libretto (with sections labelled "The Seven Ages" and "The Seven Stages"). Robbins's four New Yorkers were impersonated by Tanaquil LeClercq, Todd Bolender, Francisco Moncion, and the choreographer, but the ballet was far more aspiring than even these strong interpreters. It appears to have built an entire society, even an entire civilization. An additional group of soloists and corps—21 to 26 persons—included many of NYCB's leading dancers along with Edward Bigelow, on low stilts, as a type of paternal god who is feared at first but then is shown to be weak and toppling.

Among Robbins's female corps of 16 women were the dancers Barbara Milberg Fisher and the 17-year-old Allegra Kent, whom I asked to remember whatever they could. Fisher recalled that they wore fencing masks and red leotards and tights. Kent recalled a political aspect to the ensemble. "We were a kind of uniform proletariat," she said, "maybe even an anonymous society where there's a uniformity of doctrine. The whole point was to be faceless. Sometimes, the corps did a 'B+' position [standing, with one knee bent and its foot placed behind the supporting leg] in place, maybe with bounces." She added: "The four protagonists were confused and searching for something, and, in the back, upstage, they had four spectres or duplicates. I saw us as like a government. The Age of Anxiety suggested to me a régime where you weren't allowed freedom."

If that's what Robbins had in mind (and Kent's account seems quite feasible in the context of other accounts by critics and dancers), then no wonder Auden didn't like the ballet. Whatever the poem means, the faults it chronicles lie not in the stars—or in external political systems—but in the morally timorous self:

"We would rather be ruined than changed
We would rather die in our dread
Than climb the cross of the moment
And let our illusions die."

By putting the cross of the moment into sexual terms, Scarlett more or less makes the point.

But the cost of that climb, it seems to me, is nothing less than dancing.
The Royal Ballet's Ryoichi Hirano and Nathalie Harrison in Frederick Ashton's 'The Dream.'

The Royal Ballet's Ryoichi Hirano and Nathalie Harrison in Frederick Ashton's "The Dream."

Photo © & courtesy of Bill Cooper


The Royal Ballet's Matthew Golding as Oberon and Valentino Zucchetti as Puck in Frederick Ashton's 'The Dream.'

The Royal Ballet's Matthew Golding as Oberon and Valentino Zucchetti as Puck in Frederick Ashton's "The Dream."

Photo © & courtesy of Bill Cooper


The Royal Ballet in Frederick Ashton's 'The Dream.'

The Royal Ballet in Frederick Ashton's "The Dream."

Photo © & courtesy of Johan Persson


The Royal Ballet's Bennet Gartside, Steven McRae, Laura Morera, Tristan Dyer in Liam Scarlett's 'The Age of Anxiety.'

The Royal Ballet's Bennet Gartside, Steven McRae, Laura Morera, Tristan Dyer in Liam Scarlett's "The Age of Anxiety."

Photo © & courtesy of Bill Cooper


The Royal Ballet in Liam Scarlett's 'The Age of Anxiety.'

The Royal Ballet in Liam Scarlett's "The Age of Anxiety."

Photo © & courtesy of Bill Cooper


The Royal Ballet in Christopher Wheeldon's 'Aeternum Pas de Deux.'

The Royal Ballet in Christopher Wheeldon's "Aeternum Pas de Deux."

Photo © & courtesy of Johan Persson


The Royal Ballet in Christopher Wheeldon's 'Aeternum Pas de Deux.'

The Royal Ballet in Christopher Wheeldon's "Aeternum Pas de Deux."

Photo © & courtesy of Johan Persson


Sarah Lamb, Artists of The Royal Ballet in Kenneth MacMillan's 'Song of the Earth.'

Sarah Lamb, Artists of The Royal Ballet in Kenneth MacMillan's "Song of the Earth."

Photo © & courtesy of Johan Persson


The Royal Ballet's Sarah Lamb in Kenneth MacMillan's 'Song of the Earth.'

The Royal Ballet's Sarah Lamb in Kenneth MacMillan's "Song of the Earth."

Photo © & courtesy of Johan Persson


The Royal Ballet in Wayne McGregor's 'Infra.'

The Royal Ballet in Wayne McGregor's "Infra."

Photo © & courtesy of Bill Cooper


The Royal Ballet in Wayne McGregor's 'Infra.'

The Royal Ballet in Wayne McGregor's "Infra."

Photo © & courtesy of Bill Cooper


The Royal Ballet's Natalia Osipova as Lise in a scene from Frederick Ashton's 'La Fille mal gardée.'

The Royal Ballet's Natalia Osipova as Lise in a scene from Frederick Ashton's "La Fille mal gardée."

Photo © & courtesy of Tristam Kenton


The Royal Ballet's Natalia Osipova as Lise and Steven McRae as Colas in a scene from Frederick Ashton's 'La Fille mal gardée.'

The Royal Ballet's Natalia Osipova as Lise and Steven McRae as Colas in a scene from Frederick Ashton's "La Fille mal gardée."

Photo © & courtesy of Tristam Kenton


The Royal Ballet's Natalia Osipova as Lise and Steven McRae as Colas in a scene from Frederick Ashton's 'La Fille mal gardée.'

The Royal Ballet's Natalia Osipova as Lise and Steven McRae as Colas in a scene from Frederick Ashton's "La Fille mal gardée."

Photo © & courtesy of Tristam Kenton


The Royal Ballet in a scene from Frederick Ashton's 'La Fille mal gardée.'

The Royal Ballet in a scene from Frederick Ashton's "La Fille mal gardée."

Photo © & courtesy of Tristam Kenton

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