In 1928, he joined Ida Rubinstein's company in Paris, where he also came under the influence of Bronislava Nijinska from whom, he acknowledged, he learned his craft. He came to England in 1929 to choreograph for Rambert and the Camargo Society. He also danced with the Rambert Company in both the classics and modern works, and partnered Tamara Karsavina, Lydia Lopokova and Alicia Markova, at the same time pursuing a successful career as a dancer in musicals and revues.
In 1931, he created his first work, Regatta,
for Ninette de Valois' Vic-Wells Ballet, and four years later was invited to become Resident Choreographer. Ashton remained de Valois' associate until 1948 when his position as Associate Director was publicly recognized. In 1963, he succeeded Dame Ninette as Director of the company (now called The Royal Ballet), a position he held until he retired in 1970.
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