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Arts and Letters

Fearless Freddie.

“In his book ‘Looking at the Dance’ (1949), the critic Edwin Denby wrote that Mr. Franklin’s dancing ‘always makes perfect sense; like a true artist, he is completely at the service of the role he takes, and his straight delight in dancing, his forthright presence and openhearted nature give his version of the great classic roles a lyric grace that is fresh and sweet.’ In her book ‘Dance to the Piper’ (1952), Agnes de Mille described him as ‘strong as a mustang, as sudden, as direct and as inexhaustible.'”

He passed in May but I found out this week via my sister’s new Twitter feed: Frederic Franklin, 1914-2013. Up until very recently, you could still Franklin on the ABT stage, as the priest in Romeo and Juliet and similar roles. For Gill as for many other contemporary dancers who got to know him, he was a living link to an earlier generation of ballet. And, if you’ve seen the splendid documentary Ballets Russes, he was a lively and engaging wit as well, with a long life of stories to tell. RIP.

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