Music: Sunlight by Ashton

The hit of the London stage last week was a ballet born in Bordeaux on the eve of the French Revolution. La Fille Mai Gardee is the world's second oldest ballet (the oldest: The Whims of Cupid and the Ballet Master, which beat La Fille to the stage in 1786). In its present incarnation, La Fille not only provides the Royal Ballet with its biggest smash of the season but brilliantly demonstrates the versatility of a convivial, pink-cheeked, 53-year-old ex-R.A.F. officer—Choreographer Frederick William Mallandaine Ashton.

La Fille's plot is as wispy as a ruffled...

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