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Frederic Franklin was born in 1914 in Liverpool, England, and studied in London with Nicholas Legat and Lydia Kyasht, and in Paris with Lubov Egorova. He began his career in 1931 with Josephine Baker at the Casino de Paris. In England, he appeared with Wendy Toye and Anton Dolin in cabaret, variety, concert ballet, vaudeville, and theatre, and danced with the Vic-Wells (now The Royal) Ballet. In 1935, Franklin joined the Markova-Dolin Ballet. From 1938-1952, he was premier danseur with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo where he performed over 45 principal roles, and was appointed Ballet Master in 1944. With the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, his created roles included the Baron in Gaite Parisienne, the Baron in Night Shadow (La Sonnambula), and the Champion Roper in Rodeo. With the Slavenska Franklin Ballet, he created the role of Stanley in A Streetcar Named Desire.
Together, Mr. Franklin and Alexandra Danilova created one of the legendary ballet partnerships of the twentieth century. Among the other ballerinas he has partnered have been Alicia Markova, Irina Baronova, Agnes de Mille, Ruthanna Boris, Yvette Chauvire, Moira Shearer, Rosella Hightower, Maria Tallchief, Tamara Toumanova, and Alicia Alonso. He has worked with such choreographers as Michel Fokine, Leonide Massine, Bronislava Nijinska, Frederic Ashton, George Balanchine, Agnes de Mille, Ruth Page, and Valerie Bettis.
Mr. Franklin was co-founder of the Slavenska-Franklin Ballet, and founding director of the National Ballet in Washington, and has staged works for companies throughout the world. His choreographic credits include Etalage (1958) and Homage Au Ballet (1963) for the Washington Ballet, and Tribute (1962) for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. From 1989 to the present, Mr. Franklin has served as artistic advisor to the Dance Theatre of Harlem, for which he has staged many works including that company’s Creole Giselle which won the Laurence Olivier Award. Mr. Franklin’s credits span Broadway, television, and film.
Mr. Franklin’s awards include both the Capezio and Dance Magazine Awards, and the Laurence Olivier Award for the Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Creole Giselle.