Sir Frederick William Mallandaine Ashton OM, CH, CBE was a British dancer and choreographer. He also worked as a director and choreographer in opera, film and revue.
Determined to be a dancer, despite the opposition of his conventional middle-class family, Ashton was accepted as a pupil by Leonide Massine and then by Marie Rambert. In 1926 Rambert encouraged him to try his hand at choreography, and though he continued to dance professionally, with success, it was as a choreographer that he became famous.
Ashton was chief choreographer to Ninette de Valois, from 1935 until her retirement in 1963, in the company known successively as the Vic-Wells Ballet, the Sadler's Wells Ballet and the Royal Ballet. He succeeded de Valois as director of the company, serving until his own retirement in 1970.
Ashton is widely credited with the creation of a specifically English genre of ballet. Among his best-known works are Façade, Symphonic Variations, Cinderella, La fille mal gardée, Monotones I and II, Enigma Variations and the feature film ballet The Tales of Beatrix Potter.