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Frederick Ashton and Margot Fonteyn honoured with English Heritage blue plaques

Iconic blue plaques affixed to the former homes of two of 20th century ballet's greatest stars celebrate their careers and legacy.

By Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer)

10 June 2016 at 1.34pm | 1 Comment

Former Director of The Royal Ballet Frederick Ashton and Royal Ballet Prima Ballerina Assoluta Margot Fonteyn have been honoured with English Heritage blue plaques at their former homes.

On 7 June 2016, Former Principal of The Royal Ballet Darcey Bussell unveiled a blue plaque above Fonteyn's former residence, located just around the corner from the Royal Opera House on 118 Long Acre Lane.

After performing, Fonteyn would make the short journey back to the apartment after dancing with Sadler’s Wells Ballet – the resident company at the Royal Opera House at the time. These performances included some of her career-defining roles, such as Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty and the title role in Sylvia.

Addressing the crowds who had gathered to watch the plaque unveiling, Bussell revealed Fonteyn had been an inspiration to her and she had even been coached by the ballerina:

'She was not just a great dancer with the most extraordinary career, she was a beautiful and kind person, who will never be forgotten.'

Former Director of The Royal Ballet Anthony Dowell and Former Royal Ballet Principal Antoinette Sibley unveiled a plaque at 8 Marlborough Street in Chelsea, where Ashton lived for 25 years. During this time, the choreographer created several works for the Company including Rhapsody in 1980 – a piece to honour the Queen Mother's 80th birthday.

Dowell said he was honoured to be invited by English Heritage to be a part of the ceremony, revealing how Ashton had made an important impact on his own career:

'Sir Frederick was the major creative force during my years with The Royal Ballet, and to have had roles created on me by him makes me feel so very privileged and eternally grateful.'

Dowell and Sibley, who were regularly partnered together by Ashton, unveiled the plaque in front of a crowd of well-wishers including Ashton's predecessors, Former Director of The Royal Ballet Monica Mason and current Director Kevin O'Hare.

Blue plaques have been pinned on the houses all across London in a scheme started by English Heritage over 150 years ago to celebrate the city’s notable residents.

Professor Ronald Hutton, chairman of the blue plaques panel, said English Heritage had co-ordinated the plaques of both ballet stars revealing, ‘it seems only fitting that we celebrate him on the same day as Margot Fonteyn, who was his muse and friend for so many years.’

This article has 1 comment

  1. Alex Kersley responded on 8 November 2016 at 11:40am Reply

    Bit odd to talk about Sibley and Dowell unveiling the plaque but no photo of them? Surely you have a photo of them in the roles Ashton created for them in Midsummer Night's Dream?

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