In the June 1974 issue of Dance Magazine, our cover subject was the endlessly charming Frederic Franklin, then 60 years old. After declaring at the age of 4 that he was "going to be in the theater," the Liverpool-born dancer spent a lifetime doing exactly that.
He had his professional debut at 17, bouncing between cabarets, music revues and corps de ballet work before landing first with the Markova-Dolin Ballet and then the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, where he formed a famed partnership with Alexandra Danilova. His work as a ballet master and director at companies across the U.S. (notably at Cincinnati Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem and the now-defunct National Ballet) left an indelible mark on the development of American ballet. "I believe that talent is like a piece of elastic," he told us. "One has to stretch it. And we must always return to our roots, not simply to the barre every morning, but to the true spirit of the dance—to the magical aspect of theater. That magic exists in all great dancers and they sustain each other, with this wisdom and genius." The beloved teacher and performer continued to appear in character roles until the age of 95.