Sarasota Ballet offers Ashton classic

'La Fille' an enduring family favorite

April 18, 2013 

With the exception of the requisite staging of "The Nutcracker," Sarasota Ballet's season has consisted of evening of shorter works, including one Frederick Ashton piece per evening.

This week, ballet fans will be treated to "La Fille Mal Gardee," an evening-length ballet that's probably Ashton's most famous work.

It opens tonight and continues through a matinee and evening performance the next day.

The circuitous history of "La Fille Mal Gardee" goes back to the late 18th century. There have been countless variations, but the Ashton version, which premiered in 1960, is usually considered the standard.

The choreography is elegant, but the story is comic. That makes "La Fille Mal Gardee" (or "The Wayward Daughter") a favorite for families.

The plot has to do with Lise, the titular daughter, who wants to marry her boyfriend Colas. But her mother (a role often danced by a man) insists that she marry someone else, a rich dolt who is obsessed with his umbrella.

Ashton was the founder of the Royal Ballet in London. Sarasota Ballet director Iain Webb was a dancer in the company, and performed the role of Colas.

Details: 8 p.m. April 18, 2 and 8 p.m. April 19, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: $10-$90. Information: 941-359-0099 ext. 101, www.sarasotaballet.org.

-- Marty Clear

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