Frederic Franklin Tribute

Cincinnati Ballet is forever indebted to our Artistic Director Emeritus, Frederic Franklin CBE. Freddie's relationship with Cincinnati Ballet began in 1974, when he joined two former Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo colleagues to stage a brand-new production of Frisch's Presents The Nutcracker, which has been a continuing family favorite tradition for 39 years. Freddie served as Cincinnati Ballet's interim leader from 1984 to 1986, and in 1997, was named Artistic Director Emeritus for his invaluable contributions to our company. He returned on numerous occasions, most notably to recreate, with Principal Ballet Mistress Johanna Bernstein-Wilt, several works from Ballet Russe's repertory in 2002, the long-absent from stage and much-heralded up on return of the first three movements of Seventh Symphony, and his performance as Friar Lawrence in Cincinnati Ballet's 2008 production of Romeo & Juliet. Freddie was charming, hugely talented and an incomparable asset to Cincinnati Ballet's canon. We will fiercely miss his presence, and his memory will forever live on in our footsteps and hearts.

The New York Times: Frederic Franklin, Inventive and Charismatic Ballet Star, Is Dead at 98 Cincinnati Ballet Artistic Director Emeritus Franklin Dies at 98

The Washington Post: Frederic Franklin, ballet dancer, coach and director, dies at 98

"We lost a great man this weekend. The passing of Frederic Franklin CBE has come as such a shock to me. With his level of joy for life, ebullient energy and constant smile, I would have thought he would be with us forever. He was a great example of a man in love with his art form and all those involved in it. Freddie always had a kind word and great story of some moment in dance history of which he made much of it himself. His was a consummate performer who always let the role dictate his actions, instead of demanding what the role should do for him. I have known Freddie since I was 18, and he has always been such a wonderful, shining example of a true gentleman of our profession. It is difficult to put into words his contributions to the art form and the enrichment of all the lives he has touched. He will be very missed, but will never leave us. Farewell, dear Freddie. May I aspire to have a mere tenth of such a rich life, full of adventure, as you have had. You are a hero to us all. We love you."

     – Devon Carney, Former Associate Artistic Director with Cincinnati Ballet


Freddie Franklin, Artistic Director Emeritus and Victoria Morgan, Artistic Director & CEO, with Cincinnati Ballet dancer
Photography: Jeff Corcoran

“Freddie was the very personification of warmth and excitement. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where such joy stemmed from.  Was it those twinkling baby blue eyes? Was it his spontaneous love of life and of the people who surrounded him?  Was it the richness of an adventurous life well lived? Or was it that he was simply born with a gift and innate delight for life that inhabited his every step and stage of life? I suspect, the answer lies somewhere in all of these things. Freddie was modest and hysterical at the very same time. His vivid memory was a treasure trove of stories that had him laughing as much as we were when he told them. I will miss how he ended every conversation with “love you” and every story with an emphatic “and that’s the way it was!”. We were all so blessed and inspired by Freddie’s presence. Charming, warm and immensely generous, there was no one in the whole world like him…that’s just the way he was.”

     – Victoria Morgan, Artistic Director & CEO


Freddie Franklin with Cincinnati Ballet dancer
Photography: Jeff Corcoran

"Freddie Franklin was an indispensable element of our Cincinnati Ballet, and will remain in our hearts forever. His complete and total knowledge of dance, its music and history was only exceeded by his warmth, humanity and gentle soul. Those of us who knew and worked with him were truly blessed, and with love we embrace the very last line of Frederic Franklin, A Biography of the Ballet Star: "What Franklin has shared will never be forgotten."

     – Carmon DeLeone, Music Director


Freddie Franklin with Cincinnati Ballet dancer
Photography: Jeff Corcoran

"It is a sad day for those of us who have had our careers shaped and hearts touched by Freddie Franklin. I had the opportunity to work very closely with Freddie throughout my career. He mentored me as a teacher and choreographer early on. Later, as Freddie filled the role of Interim Artistic Director for Cincinnati Ballet,  I had the honor of being coached by him in a wide range of classical roles, from ones in Nutcracker to that of Odette, the Balanchine repertoire of Serenade and La Sonnabula, and the Ruth Pages works of Billy Sunday and Frankie and Johnny. Freddie had an amazing joy for life and reverence for dance. Like many, I feel truly blessed to have known and worked with him. His teaching, stories and encouragement will always be remembered. I know I have been made a better dancer and teacher by Freddie, and hope to pass on all he has shared with me."

     – Suzette Boyer Webb, former Cincinnati Ballet Principal Dancer and current 
Director of Second Company


Freddie Franklin with former Cincinnati Ballet Principal Dancer Kristi Capps
Photography: Jeff Corcoran

"Everytime Freddie Franklin walked into Cincinnati Ballet, the entire atmosphere of the building changed. Freddie was radiant and magnetizing; everyone was always excited to be near him, to listen to what he had to say. His vivacity and his way with people put everyone at ease, but also inspired moments of greatness. In his position as Artistic Director Emeritus, Freddie was a wonderful asset. His incomparable knowledge and near-photographic memory for technique, choreography and emotion aided Cincinnati Ballet in a way that still resonates today. We're a stronger company, in terms of our respect for repertory, thanks to Freddie. He will be genuinely missed."

     – Missie Santomo, C.O.O.

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