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David Ashmole Dies

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The teacher, adjudicator and Royal Ballet and Australian Ballet dancer David Ashmole has died. He was 59. The Yorkshire-born Ashmole trained at the Kilburn Dance School in Wellingborough, Northmaptonshire, and then at the Royal Ballet School from 1965. He joined The Royal Ballet in 1968, generally considered its “Golden Age”, becoming a soloist in 1972 and a principal in 1975. He transferred to Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet (now Birmingham Royal Ballet) in 1976, and then danced for the Australian Ballet from 1984 to 1994.

He danced all the main male roles in the classical repertory, including those from Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle and Coppelia, as well as works by Frederick Ashton and Kenneth Macmillan. He worked with many of the leading figures in the dance world – from Ashton and MacMillan to Peter Wright, Eric Bruhn and Rudolf Nureyev.

After his decade at Australian Ballet, he returned to London to be a senior lecturer in classical ballet at London Studio Centre in 1999. He then become the school’s Head of Boys, and then Assistant Director to Margaret Barbieri, the former dancer and director of Images of Dance (Studio Centre’s graduate ballet troupe). He was also a guest teacher with Birmingham Royal Ballet.

“David had a real passion to dance,” says Barbieri. “He was totally dedicated to the art, extremely hardworking and disciplined, never missing a class in his whole career. I was privileged to dance many ballets with him and loved every minute.”

David is survived by his wife, the former dancer Petal Miller who teaches at the Royal Ballet School.

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