Secret Muses

Julie Kavanagh

Secret Muses: The Life of Frederick Ashton by Julie Kavanagh is a virtuoso biography of Sir Frederick Ashton, Britain’s greatest ballet choreographer.

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Sir Frederick Ashton, Britain’s greatest choreographer, was a major figure on the cultural landscape of the twentieth century and his influence extended far beyond the world of dance. Julie Kavanagh traces Ashton’s progress with a keen and sympathetic sense of both the man and his milieu. The drama of his professional and private life – among his close associates were Constant Lambert, Benjamin Britten, W. B. Yeats, the Sitwells and Cecil Beaton – is skilfully interwoven with vivid descriptions of the ballets themselves.

‘Not only the best biography of a ballet figure but, far more important, a Proustian recollection of that glamorous near-mythical time, the first half of our now setting century.’ Gore Vidal


Julie Kavanagh was trained at the Royal Ballet School, and, while still a student, performed with a company in Cape Town, where she has spent her early childhood. As a result of injury, she gave up dancing and began a career in journalism. Her first job was on British Vogue, and for three years she worked as London Editor of…

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