Freddie Franklin, you will be missed.
On Saturday, Frederic Franklin passed away at age 98. The former Ballet Russe ballet master graced the cover of DT as our Lifetime Achievement Award winner in 2007. He shared his memories of working with Bronislava Nijinsky (“She was terrifying” at first), his 20-year partnership with Russian prima Alexandra Danilova and learning Balanchine choreography for the first time as a member of Ballet Russe. “It was very peculiar for us because with [Ballet Russe director Leonide] Massine you did ballets in which you represented something,” he recalled. “Before Mr. Balanchine, we never danced classical ballet where no one was anything.”
Most poignantly, perhaps, he told us how healthy and satisfied he felt at the impressive age of 93. At the time, he was still be performing with American Ballet Theatre and the Metropolitan Opera. “I’ve never been thwarted as far as being what I am. I was a dancer, I’ve taken care of myself. As Madame Danilova used to say, ‘I have been in for repairs.’ I’ve had a triple bypass, I’ve had a few hernias. And here I am. I eat well and I have a glass of wine every night. I’m walking around and feeling fine,” he said. “When I think of the lovely career I’ve had and that I’m now dancing with one of the world’s greatest companies, I think that is really something.”
Photo by Eduardo Patino