Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival audiences are accustomed to seeing sleek contemporary ballets by choreographers like Jiri Kylian and Alexei Ratmansky. But while the State Ballet of Georgia will perform works by both of those artists at this year’s festival, it will also present some far more classical, and contextually far more unusual, repertoire: four rarely-seen pas de deux by Sir Frederick Ashton.
“Many companies dance Ashton’s familiar La Fille Mar Gardée, but most people have never experienced these pas de deux,” says State Ballet of Georgia director and ballerina Nina Ananiashvili. She chose the duets—from La Chatte, Thais, Sylvia and Voices of Spring—because they “show the individuality and expressiveness of the dancers very well.”
Ananiashvili also believes that Ashton’s ballets, if not ageless, are of timeless value. “We have to pass these classics on to the next generation,” she says. “We do not destroy old buildings, which have great cultural worth, just because the newer ones are more modern. And a generation raised on classics will create masterpieces in the future.”