Frederic Franklin

(b. 1914)

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(b Liverpool, 13 Jun. 1914)

British-US dancer, choreographer, teacher, and director. He studied with Shelagh Elliott-Clarke in Liverpool then with Kyasht, N. Legat, and Egorova. He made his amateur stage debut as a tap dancer and his professional debut with Josephine Baker and Mistinguette in the cabaret at Casino de Paris, 1931. From 1933 he danced in London cabarets, musicals, and operetta becoming soloist in the Markova-Dolin company (1935–7). In 1938 he was appointed principal dancer with Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, becoming ballet master in 1944. A dynamic, dramatically gifted dancer, he created roles in many ballets including Massine's Gaîté parisienne (1938), Seventh Symphony (1938), and Rouge et noir (1939), Ashton's The Devil's Holiday (1939), and de Mille's Rodeo (1942). In 1949 he and Danilova (his regular partner) were guest stars with Sadler's Wells Ballet and in 1952 he founded the Slavenska-Franklin ballet with Mia Slavenska, touring the US and the Far East. He returned to Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo (1954–6), after which he worked as director or adviser with many companies including American Ballet Theatre (1961), National Ballet, Washington, DC, and its associated school (1962–74), where he also choreographed several works; Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (1974–7); and Cincinnati Ballet, where he was resident choreographer from 1978, creating his lyrical Sylvia pas de deux (mus. Delibes, 1978). He also continued to perform character roles. His legendary memory has enabled him to stage classics and the Ballet Russe repertoire for La Scala, Milan (1961), New York City Ballet (1964), and for many American companies, such as Dance Theatre of Harlem for whom he staged their Creole version of Giselle (1984); Tulsa Ballet, for whom he staged his Coppélia (1995); and American Ballet Theatre, with whom he formed a permanent association in 1996, staging ballets and also performing character roles such as Madge in La Sylphide and the Friar in Romeo and Juliet.

Subjects: Dance.

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