News: Rambert, Ashton & A Tragedy Of Fashion

Monday 24 May 2004

This week at Sadler’s Wells, Rambert Dance Company presents the world première of a modern re-interpretation by Ian Spink*of *Sir Frederick Ashton’s A Tragedy of Fashion*,* the work that Ballet Rambert presented on its first evening of dance in 1926.

Having given birth to both Ballet Rambert and the choreographic career of a young Frederick Ashton, that evening in Hammersmith has proven to be one of the pivotal moments in British dance history. This modern interpretation has been commissioned to mark the centenary of his birth, and to pay tribute to Rambert’s Founding Choreographer. As insufficient records of the ballet survive to enable the production to be faithfully reconstructed, Ian Spink has been invited to re-interpret the work for our time. Talking about the work he said:

“We have created a new scenario with references to the original (written by Ashley Dukes) and also to the creative influences and lifestyle of Ashton in the early decades of the 20th century. His ballets during this period were very much influenced by the work of of Europeans, in particular Ballet Russes and the choreographers, composers and artists who created often ravishing and sometimes shocking dance works for the European stage. Ashton inhabited a world not to disimilar to that of Noel Coward, the ups and downs of his private life fed the characters portrayed in his choreography, and his close associations with his fellow dancers led to some lasting and creatively fruitful partnerships. Overall, our new ‘tragedy’ is about fashion, art and suicide. The music by Elena Kats-Chernin has a mad, infectious, and sometimes dark, rhythmic drive”

Designs for A Tragedy of Fashion are by Antony McDonald and Juliette Blondelle.

Rambert Dance Company’s Spring London season at Sadler’s Wells (25-29 May) also features the London premières of three other dance pieces. As a further tribute to Sir Frederick Ashton’s choreography, Rambert presents Five Brahms Waltzes in the Manner of Isadora Duncan, Fin Walker’s first Rambert commission Reflection, and an expanded and updated version of Linear Remains by Rambert’s Associate Choreographer Rafael Bonachela.

Debra Craine, Times, 24 May

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