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Frederick Ashton's The Two Pigeons in rehearsal – World Ballet Day 2015

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Published on Nov 5, 2015

The Royal Ballet's Guest Principal Ballet Master Christopher Carr rehearses a pas de deux from Frederick Ashton's romantic ballet The Two Pigeons with First Soloists Yuhui Choe and Alexander Campbell, accompanied by Kate Shipway on the piano. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/the...

Frederick Ashton, Founder Choreographer of The Royal Ballet, created Les Deux Pigeons for The Royal Ballet Touring Company in 1961. He restaged the work for the main company later that year as The Two Pigeons. He and his regular collaborator John Lanchbery (La Fille mal gardée) worked together to adapt André Messager’s 1886 score, created for a ballet by Louis Mérante at the Paris Opéra. Like Messager and Mérante, Ashton turned to La Fontaine’s fable of the same title for inspiration – but Ashton tells quite a different story. He explores the nature of love in a work that has deft comic lightness and soulful pathos in equal measure.

Lynn Seymour and Donald Britton created the roles of the central pair (though in the premiere Christopher Gable danced the male role, taking over for an injured Britton). Ashton was drawn particularly to Seymour’s vivacity and effervescence; together they created a personality for the Young Woman that is charming, impetuous and lively, adding character to the ballet’s charming humour. Ashton’s choreography draws a strong distinction between the uninhibited sensuality of the gypsies and the lovers’ interactions, which often – to both comic and heartfelt effect – suggest the movements of birds.

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