British choreographer. Born in Rochester, Kent, Page trained locally and then at the Royal Ballet Lower and Upper Schools before joining the Royal Ballet (at Covent Garden) in 1976. During his formative years in the Company he worked closely with Frederick Ashton and Kenneth MacMillan, creating numerous roles in new ballets by both of them, as well as working with visiting choreographers such as Glen Tetley and, crucially, Richard Alston who became a mentor for Page during his subsequent development as a choreographer.
He was promoted to Principal in 1984, the same year in which he choreographed his first professional work for the Company, A Broken Set of Rules. Page continued to develop his choreographic ‘voice’ alongside his dancing career, creating 17 ballets for the Company as well as being commissioned by Rambert Dance Company and Dutch National Ballet among others. He became known for his often daring collaborations with visual artists and contemporary composers, and for his interest in finding new contexts for dance to explore. His Fearful Symmetries, created in 1994 at Covent Garden, featured a central role for Irek Mukhamedov which quickly became an iconic vehicle for the dancer.
In 2002, after 27 years with the Royal Ballet Page was offered the artistic directorship of the then failing Scottish Ballet, and over the subsequent ten years redeveloped the Company into an internationally renowned modern ballet company with an eclectic repertoire which attracted critical acclaim, several awards and new audiences. He created many new works for the Company, including four full-length ballets (The Nutcracker, Cinderella, The Sleeping Beauty and Alice) as well as several contemporary and neo-classical pieces and these, along with important acquisitions and new commissions by significant choreographers, repositioned Scottish Ballet as a vibrant new force within the UK and abroad. Regular invitations to perform at the Edinburgh International Festival were followed by foreign tours to China and America, as well as frequent visits to perform in London.
During his final year at Scottish Ballet Page was commissioned to create a new work for San Francisco Ballet (Guide to Strange Places) which was premiered in March 2012 and featured in that Company’s highly successful London season six months later. Now entering the third phase of his career as a freelance choreographer and director, Page is currently responding to numerous commissions from ballet and contemporary dance companies (including Rambert Dance Company, the Royal Ballet of Flanders, Joffrey Ballet and the Polish National Ballet) as well as planning projects at Glyndebourne (Hippolyte et Aricie with director Jonathan Kent) and with Scottish Opera, where he will direct his first production in that field. Page recently collaborated with the dancers of the Vienna State Ballet to create the ballet sequences for the New Year’s Concert, to be broadcast on the 1st January 2013 from Vienna.
Awards include: Time Out Award for Best New Dance Production Fearful Symmetries 1994; Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production for Fearful Symmetries 1995; TMA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance 2004 (Scottish Ballet “for surefooted modernisation under Ashley Page and dynamic performances”); Herald Angel Award for Scottish Ballet Dances Balanchine, Edinburgh Festival 2005; OBE (Order of the British Empire) 2006; Critics Circle Award - Scottish Ballet for Outstanding Repertoire / Classical 2007; Herald Archangel Award for his long association with the Edinburgh Festival through Scottish Ballet, 2011; De Valois Award for Outstanding Achievement, National Dance Awards 2012; Honorary Degree from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, 2012.
Photo: Ewa Krasucka