Remembering Peter Frame, Former NYCB Dancer And SAB Faculty Member
Peter was deeply loved by his students, friends, and fellow dancers. He was known for his kindness, sensitivity, and generosity of spirit. Friends described him as caring and sweet. Several recalled that he always made time for conversation with them when they ran into him on the Upper West Side. He was very aware and sensitive to people's feelings. The daily life of a ballet dancer is extremely challenging and demanding. Peter demonstrated a deep empathy for his dancers.
Cheerful and optimistic, he enjoyed an impressive forty year association with the prestigious New York City Ballet. He studied at the School of American Ballet, and became a company member under the direction of George Balanchine. He was promoted to principal status. It was an exciting and productive time.
In interviews with the press, Peter expressed deep admiration for Balanchine's genius. He consistently sounded excited, positive and grateful for his opportunities. He was forward thinking and intelligent. When he was younger, he already saw himself transitioning into physical therapy. His vision was on, as he later became the department head for the men's weight training division at SAB. He was extremely popular.
Peter was also exhilarated by his work with Paul Taylor, who died one day before Peter did. Highly committed to his career, he was deeply respected and admired by his peers. Attractive, lean and photogenic, his beauty was captured in many of the company photographs. He had impressive flexibility, and exhibited a very spiritual quality on stage. It shined through his face and aura. Dancers from his era remember him as "always working," a winner.
He will be dearly missed, especially by his ballet family at NYCB and SAB. They will love him forever. He was sixty-one at the time of his death.
Alicia has died. I walked around my apartment feeling her spirit, but knowing something had changed utterly.
My father, the late conductor Benjamin Steinberg, was the first music director of the Ballet de Cuba, as it was called then. I grew up in Vedado on la Calle 1ra y doce in a building called Vista al Mar. My family lived there from 1959 to 1963. My days were filled with watching Alicia teach class, rehearse and dance. She was everything: hilarious, serious, dramatic, passionate and elegiac. You lost yourself and found yourself when you loved her.
"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.
It's Nutcracker time again: the season of sweet delights and a sparkling good time—if we're able to ignore the sour taste left behind by the outdated racial stereotypes so often portrayed in the second act.
In 2017, as a result of a growing list of letters from audience members, to New York City Ballet's ballet master in chief Peter Martins reached out to us asking for assistance on how to modify the elements of Chinese caricature in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker. Following that conversation, we founded the Final Bow for Yellowface pledge that states, "I love ballet as an art form, and acknowledge that to achieve a diversity amongst our artists, audiences, donors, students, volunteers, and staff, I am committed to eliminating outdated and offensive stereotypes of Asians (Yellowface) on our stages."
An audience member once emailed Dallas choreographer Joshua L. Peugh, claiming his work was vulgar. It complained that he shouldn't be pushing his agenda. As the artistic director of Dark Circles Contemporary Dance, Peugh's recent choreography largely deals with LGBTQ issues.
"I got angry when I saw that email, wrote my angry response, deleted it, and then went back and explained to him that that's exactly why I should be making those works," says Peugh.
With the current political climate as polarized as it is, many artists today feel compelled to use their work to speak out on issues they care deeply about. But touring with a message is not for the faint of heart. From considerations about how to market the work to concerns about safety, touring to cities where, in general, that message may not be so welcome, requires companies to figure out how they'll respond to opposition.