La Fille mal Gardée by the French composer Ferdinand Herold, is one of the oldest and most important works in the modern ballet repertory. It was one of the first ballets about ‘real’ people, rather than gods, or kings and queens, and its plot is a simple one: boy meets girl, problems arise and overcome, boy gets girl. It was premiered in Paris in 1789, just two weeks before the fall of the Bastille.
Undoubtedly the most famous revival of La Fille mal Gardée in recent times was Sir Frederick Ashton’s spectacularly successful version of 1960, since when it is has become a staple of ballet companies throughout the world. The ballet’s best known ‘number’ is the Clog Dance – most famously danced (in clogs, as you might expect) by Ashton himself as Widow Simone, assisted by ballerinas in clogs on points! Optional woodblock part for the bassoon – or get those keys clattering! A great encore piece!