BiographyIvor Guest was a prominent British ballet historian who was said to have “transformed the study of dance history.” He became a frequent Jacob’s Pillow visitor in the early 1960s when he married Ann Hutchinson, the dance notation specialist and longtime Pillow fixture who survives him. The Guests habitually left their London home for a few weeks each summer to stay at their cottage on Goose Pond and take part in Pillow activities. Guest was a lawyer by training who stumbled into a lifelong avocation when he was writing a book on Napoleon in the early 1950s. This led to a fascination with ballet during the Napoleonic era and would eventually result in a number of history books and biographies, nineteen of which he autographed and presented to the Jacob’s Pillow Archives. Aside from his many publications, his research also contributed to Frederick Ashton’s reconstruction of La Fille Mal Gardée, locating the music for the central pas de deux in the Paris Opera Archives. Guest was an official adviser to two notable British institutions, the Royal Academy of Dance (where he was chairman from 1970 to 1993) and the monthly magazine Dancing Times. In 2000, he received France’s Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, recognizing significant contributions to the arts and literature. He died in March 2018 at 97.
Source of Biographywritten by Norton Owen for Jacob's Pillow Remembers.