Realism, simplicity and gaiety are at the heart of Frederick Ashton's poetry and his ballet La Fille mal gardée. His characters' dramatic force, their comic potential and spontaneity go hand in hand with a major dose of technique. Series of batteries, arabesques, pirouettes and attitudes offer spectators truly virtuoso variations and adages. Alongside performance and technical mastery, accessories play an important role. When he enters in Act I, young Colas is holding his walking stick firmly in his hand, contributing to a joyful countryside atmosphere. On it he hangs the ribbon that Lise has left for him and then launches into a bravura piece portraying his love for the young girl. In rehearsal, Emmanuel Thibault, former Paris Opera Ballet Premier Danseur - to whom the Ballet was handed down by Alexander Grant, Ashton's rights-holder - gives some final advice to François Alu. Spontaneity and freshness are ever-present.