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If I had been in the 1956 audience for the pre miere of Birthday Offering, Sir Frederick Ashton's tribute ballet to the ballerinas who were the jewels of the Sadler's Wells Ballet Company, I would have appreciated his per ceptive characterizations of each dancer. I would have nodded in agreement at his abil ity to capture their individuality. Instead, I rely on Sarasota Ballet's assistant director, Margaret Barbieri, who has staged this production with a knowing eye to both the past and the present, to match Sarasota Ballet dancers with their English alter egos. And the individual solos are the focus of Birthday Offering, the ballet Ashton choreographed to celebrate a royal charter changing the name of Sadler's Wells Ballet to The Royal Ballet. The roots of the English ballet are hidden deep in the Russian tradition; the latter was obvi ously in Ashton's mind, given his choice of the sweet, familiar and deeply Russian romantic music of Glazunov and choreography based firmly in the strict academic vocabulary. As the ballet unfolded, each of the seven women of the Sarasota Ballet Company, wearing glittering jeweled dresses, had an opportunity to shine in a solo variation, dis playing aspects of her own personality that have been hidden in other roles. Nicole Padilla Symphony of Sorrows incorporates many lifts. Contributed photo by Frank Atura BALLERINAS SHINE IN ASHTON AND TUDOR PIECES WHILE GRAZIANO'S EARLIER WORK HAS SOME WEAKNESS A FOCUS ON INDIVIDUALITY By Elinor Rogosin A&E Writer

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