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 Post subject: Ashley Page - new AD at Scottish Ballet
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2002 7:28 am 
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MEDIA RELEASE: 28 May 2002<P>SCOTTISH BALLET ANNOUNCES <BR>NEW ARTISTIC DIRECTOR<P>Scottish Ballet today announced the appointment of Ashley Page as its new Artistic Director.<P>Choreographer and former Principal Dancer with The Royal Ballet, Ashley will join Scottish Ballet in the autumn.<P>Ashley Page commented:<P>‘I am thrilled with this opportunity to lead Scottish Ballet and am immensely positive about the Company and its future. I very much look forward to coming to Scotland and getting to know the Company and the broader dance community. By expanding the range of work that the Company presents, I will seek to develop new audiences as well as nurturing the loyal audience that Scottish Ballet has created over the past three decades.’<P>As Scottish Ballet’s new artistic leader, Ashley Page will help redefine the Company as a modern ballet company through performance, encouragement of new choreography and development of classical dance training in Scotland. His experience in the UK and worldwide will strengthen the Company’s policy of performing a broad programme, from the challenging and new to the more traditional. The repertoire will be based on classical technique embracing<P>continued…<BR>20th Century works, the reworking of 19th Century classics and with a new emphasis on commissioned work of a contemporary classical nature.<P>West Australian Ballet in Perth has just premiered Ashley’s latest creation Lollapalooza, and Ashley will this week begin a tour of Australia with The Royal Ballet.<P>Christopher Barron, Chief Executive of Scottish Ballet said:<BR>‘I am delighted about Ashley’s appointment, and look forward to working with him to create a great dance company for Scotland worthy of the international stage’<P><BR>-ends-<P><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Ashley Page - new AD at Scottish Ballet
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2002 7:31 am 
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Scottish Ballet<P>Ashley Page <BR>Artistic Director<BR>Biography<P>There are plenty of classical choreographers working today who have mixed the language of ballet with just a timid dash of modern dance. But Ashley Page is unusual in having gone deep into the aesthetic of various modern choreographers while remaining steeped in the discipline of his own training. In doing so he has not ended up with a compromise of styles but with a language that is both personal and new.<P>He was born in Rochester, Kent where he trained locally before joining the Royal Ballet School. As a student, he danced the Gypsy Lover in Ashton’s The Two Pigeons and performed in MacMillan’s Danses Concertantes at the School’s 1975 performance. In 1976 he joined The Royal Ballet, becoming a Principal in 1984. His repertory has ranged from the classics to modern works and he has created roles in ballets by Ashton, MacMillan, Bintley, Tetley and Alston.<P>Page began choreographing in 1981 when he created a work for The Royal Ballet Choreographic Group, but he dates his real interest in choreography from his first encounter with modern dance – Richard Alston’s Soda Lake – which he described as ‘a revelation’. Fascinated by the discovery of choreographic languages that involved a completely different logic from that of ballet, he watched as much new work as he could. When he finally came to make his first work for The Royal Ballet he was eager to apply the same spirit of discovery and analysis to his own language. In A Broken Set Of Rules (1984) he set out to strip ballet down to its bare essentials, rediscovering for himself the rigour at the heart of classicism. But at the same time he was ready to break some of ballet’s rules – to find new ways of co-ordinating familiar steps and positions; to add contemporary curves and twists to the dancers’ torsos and to give an extra raw force to their moves.<P>A Broken Set Of Rules marked the start of a varied and prolific career during which Page has developed his craft by working with dancers from many different backgrounds. Between 1986 and 1990 he forged a close working relationship with Rambert Dance Company, creating three works – Carmen Arcadiae (1986), Soldat (1988) and Currulao (1990) for its largely modern-dance-trained performers. During the mid-1980’s he also collaborated with dancer-choreographer Gaby Agis on works that drew heavily on ‘release’ technique, a style with fluid, improvisatory and weighted movements which are the complete antithesis of ballet. In addition he made works for Dance Umbrella that used modern and classically trained performers to contrast and combine opposite styles of dance.<P>This juxtaposition of classical and modern also informed the television dance Savage Water which Page made for Channel 4 in 1989, as well as subsequent work for Turkuaz Modern Dance Company, for the dance theatre group Second Stride, for The Royal Opera’s production of Cherubin, Red Dream Sequence for the Conservatoire de Paris and Access All Areas (in collaboration with Redha Bentiafour) for Dutch National Ballet. But, just as important, it has continued to influence the work he has created on The Royal Ballet’s dancers – resulting in a style that ranges from airy formalism to blunt, earthbound moves.<P>Page has used several pre-20th Century scores for his work, including Beethoven’s Piano Concerto no.1 for Piano (1989) and Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsodies nos.6,15 and 17 for …Now Langourous, Now Wild… (1996); but it is 20th Century composers who most obviously parallel Page’s spiky rhythms, asymmetrical lines and fiercely compressed phrasing. Not surprisingly, he has choreographed Stravinsky several times, for example Renard (1994) and Ebony Concerto (1995), and also Poulenc for Sawdust And Tinsel (1998). He has worked with many of today’s composers, including Michael Nyman for A Broken Set Of Rules, Colin Matthews for Pursuit (1987) and Hidden Variables (1999), Orlando Gough for Currulao, Sleeping With Audrey (1996), Room Of Cooks (1997) and When We Stop Talking (1998), David Lang and Michael Gordon for Cheating, Lying, Stealing (1998) and John Adams for the monumental Fearful Symmetries, which won the 1994 Time Out Award and the 1995 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production. In Two-Part Invention, Page drew on the full palette of his dance language using a score that contrasted the heroic lyricism of Prokofiev’s Fifth Piano Concerto with the urgent minimalist pulse of Robert Moran’s 32 Cryptograms For Derek Jarman. <P>Collaboration with visual artists has also played a major role in the evolution of his style, with Deanna Petherbridge, Howard Hodgkin, Jack Smith and Bruce McLean all creating designs for his early ballets. This collaboration has taken on a new emphasis since the 1990’s as Page started to explore narrative possibilities within his work. While never attempting to follow a logical plot, his recent choreography often creates fragments of character and situation, which imply a larger story. Intensive, pre-rehearsal discussion with designers Antony McDonald, Jon Morrell and Stephen Chambers (whose paintings influenced Sleeping With Audrey and Room Of Cooks) have helped to shape the ideas as well as the visual look of Page’s later work, as has input from composers like Gough and Matthews. In This House Will Burn Gough’s large-scale jazzy score actively define the choreography’s energy while Chamber’s architectural set and Morrell’s costumes create its spatial and dramatic structure.<P>West Australian Ballet in Perth premiered Page’s latest work, Lollapalooza, on 24 May 2002.<P>Biography by Judith Mackrell, May 2002<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Ashley Page - new AD at Scottish Ballet
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2002 10:47 am 
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Congratulations to Ashley Page on his appointment as AD of Scottish Ballet. This is going to be a tough job and no mistake. The controversy of the past year has divided the ballet scene in Scotland with the current AD, many supporters and the dancers on one side and the Board and The Arts Council of Scotland on the other. <P>For the sake of dance in Scotland I hope that Page can start to heal these wounds. I've enjoyed much of his work, but it does not please ballet traditionalists. However, the appointment does seem coherent with the policy to shift the Company towards a contemporary ballet mode. <P>In the press release there is an unattributed comment on the rep consisting of '...20th Century works, the reworking of 19th Century classics and with a new emphasis on commissioned work of a contemporary classical nature.' That is a tall order especially the re-working of 19th C. works with only 35 or so dancers. I also wonder about 'work of a contemporary classical nature'. I suppose they mean modern/contemporary ballet, but it does seem an odd phrase aiming to please everybody.<P>One of Page's skills is his ability to enthuse dancers. Regardless of what the ROH audiences thought of his work, the dancers loved it and he does have a knack of making them look good. If he can repeat that success at Scottish it will be a flying start. <P>Fingers and everything else crossed.<BR><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited May 28, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: Ashley Page - new AD at Scottish Ballet
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2002 11:27 pm 
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Article in The Scotsman.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>SCOTTISH Ballet yesterday sought to settle months of speculation over its future with the appointment of a new artistic director. <P>Ashley Page, the choreographer and former principal dancer with the Royal Ballet, will be installed at Glasgow’s Theatre Royal in the autumn. Mr Page said he was thrilled by his new role. <P>Announcing the move, the ballet’s chief executive, Chris Barron, said the artistic director’s arrival would offer an opportunity to create "a great dance company worthy of an international stage". <BR><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://news.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=578952002&rware=MBTVQLXJSZLV&CQ_CUR_DOCUMENT=1" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE </B> </A><P>And in The Herald.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><P>SCOTTISH Ballet's new artistic director is to be Ashley Page, the former principal at the Royal Ballet, it was revealed last night.<P>However, Mr Page, 45, currently the principal character artist at the Royal Ballet, will create only a limited amount of new ballets for the national company.<P>Instead, his role will involve bringing in a number of other choreographers to work with its dancers.<P><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/archive/29-5-19102-23-52-49.html" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE </B> </A>


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 Post subject: Re: Ashley Page - new AD at Scottish Ballet
PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2002 9:54 am 
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Good Luck Mr Page. But I seem to remember the intention had been to create a contemporary dance company rather than reworking 19th century ballet classics. Who will be doing the reworking exactly? The choreographers of the ilke of Mats Ek, did not recreate the classics overnight to the order of a funding body. But if the classics are not so radically reworked but rather varied or edited or whatever you want to call it, you have to be Markarova or Nureyev to (a) know what you're doing and (b) be recognised as knowing. Ashley Page will need very clear lines of communication with management or directors otherwise he risks having to agonise over a translation of the sub-text of what he is supposed to be creating- contemporary or ballet? A mixture? And the dancers have to excel at both? It was Robert North's contention that he was given a free hand when first entrusted with the role and then found himself increasingly having to try to find the magic formula to please management with no clear communication from it as to what was required.<P>Which begs the question - what poor soul will be entrusted with the new Frankfurt Company if Ballett Frankfurt and Forsythe are axed.


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 Post subject: Re: Ashley Page - new AD at Scottish Ballet
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2002 12:22 am 
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This is getting confusing..is the Scottish Ballet staying sort of classical or is it going contemporary , or a mixture of both??


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 Post subject: Re: Ashley Page - new AD at Scottish Ballet
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2002 6:06 am 
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I think you are not the only one to be confused SPF. My reading of the announcements is that it will remain a ballet company, but will place more emphasis on bringing in outside choreographers, I would guess like Kylian and Duato as well as the 19th and 20th C rep. That doesn't sound very different to what they have been doing under Robert North, except that due to financial onsiderations they have performed quite a lot of his own work. <P>The questions that come to my mind are:<P>- is this too ambitious a range of work for a medium size company that has struggled for several years.<BR>- how large will the Company be?<BR>- how will the outside choreographers be paid for? The top names don't come cheap.


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 Post subject: Re: Ashley Page - new AD at Scottish Ballet
PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2002 3:14 am 
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The announcement smacks of wanting to sweep out the old and bring in the new. As Stuart points out, that is all very well, but where does the money come from for this? And, just as important,is the company up to it? If the dancers are not exposed to these works, many of which are techncially demanding in a new style, the works could appear shoddy and under-rehearsed. Better to stick to the repertoire and incorporate new works, I would have thought. Somewhat like Stretton at the Royal Ballet. Instead, Scottish Ballet is saying, essentially: "and now for something completely different" as if to sweep North under the carpet completely.


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 Post subject: Re: Ashley Page - new AD at Scottish Ballet
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2002 11:26 pm 
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<B>lord of the dance prepares to muster his embattled troupes</B><BR>Ashley Page -- Scottish Ballet's latest artistic leader -- faces a tough challenge, says Ellie Carr<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>AFTER nearly a year of uncertainty, Scottish Ballet finally has a new artistic director -- or artistic leader as the company's official announcement has it . Admittedly, the classically-schooled Ashley Page is by far the best candidate from a shortlist that included American Donald Byrd, Portuguese Paulo Ribeiro and various other contemporary dance figures Scottish ballet-goers had never heard of. But his appointment will do little to quell the anger that has built up around the handling of Scottish Ballet's affairs. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><BR><A HREF="http://www.sundayherald.com/25055" TARGET=_blank><B>more...</B></A>


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 Post subject: Re: Ashley Page - new AD at Scottish Ballet
PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2002 8:00 am 
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<B>Best steps start close to home</B><BR>On the eve of its first trip to Scotland for eight years, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s David Bintley tells Senay Boztas in The Times where he thinks Scottish Ballet went wrong. <BR> <BR> <BR>A choreographer’s best steps are the ones that take a ballet company in the right direction for its audience — but this is just where Scottish Ballet has stumbled. Instead of looking for ideas from within Britain, it gazed towards a foreign modern-dance scene that was fundamentally alien to its audience. And when new funding rules stopped English companies touring in Scotland and vice versa, the company was deprived of its most natural source of inspiration. <BR>This is the view of David Bintley, artistic director of Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB), who renews an old acquaintance with Scotland next week when he brings Carmina Burana and Powder to Edinburgh. <P><A HREF="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/printFriendly/0,,1-1506-326474,00.html" TARGET=_blank><B>click for more</B></A><BR>


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