To this day, few can rival choreographer Sir Frederick Ashton at showing off the individual gifts of dancers, especially with his range of choreographic genius from sweet lyricism to barbed wit. Indeed, with his idyllic jewel Sylvia, Ashton created a star vehicle for the celebrated ballerina Margot Fonteyn, premiered to great effect in 1952 at The Royal Ballet. However, when American Ballet Theatre and The Royal Ballet agreed to co-produce a production of Ashton's masterwork years ago, there was a hitch – Sylvia was last performed in 1965, and its choreography was never officially notated. The only formal record of the steps is a dimly lit black-and-white film, making it quite difficult to discern the intricate choreography.
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