Jump to content


This site uses cookies. By using this site, you agree to accept cookies, unless you've opted out. (US government web page with instructions to opt out: http://www.usa.gov/optout-instructions.shtml)

Dick Beardformer NYCB and Ballet Theatre dancer


  • Please log in to reply
24 replies to this topic

#1 rg

rg

    Emeralds Circle

  • Editorial Advisor
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,462 posts

Posted 27 July 2009 - 02:09 PM

Dick Beard, a dancer I know of primarily from Julie Kavanagh's SECRET MUSES, died on Saturday, July 25th, in Los Angeles, California, where he lived, according to an email sent to a colleague by a close friend of Beard's.
apparently in addition to everything else, Beard was serious dance historian in his post-performing years.
the attached photo scan comes from David Leddick's 'The Male Nude' (Taschen).

Attached Files



#2 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25,965 posts

Posted 27 July 2009 - 02:42 PM

Thank you for posting this sad news, rg. I too know of Beard only through Secret Muses, but I thought his comments as relayed by Kavanagh stood out for their candor and intelligence.

#3 atm711

atm711

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,431 posts

Posted 28 July 2009 - 03:40 AM

I do remember him as a 'corps' member of ballet theatre and he was quite impressive looking on stage.

#4 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 28 July 2009 - 08:47 AM

It's fascinating Googling Beard. His performing career, with so many gigs, so many venues, gives you an idea of how a dancer had to hustle to get work in the 40s and 50s. Someone is quoted in Kavanagh's Ashton biography as saying,

Dick should have been a star. He had so much going for him -- Nora Kaye used to say that he had the best pair of legs since Serge Lifar -- but he was lazy. He rested on his glamour.

That may be true. When you are young and very beautiful, perhaps you don't work as hard as you might. But my impression drawn from the references on Google is that he got himself quite a variety of gigs with a variety of choreographers. Think of it: Ballet Theater (Pillar of Fire), New York City Ballet (Robbins' Age of Anxiety), dancing on TV variety shows (Your Show of Shows).

Maybe not the a career Kaye or Ashton would have liked for him. But ... he worked.

rg, do you have any details about his post-retirement work as a dance historian?

#5 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25,965 posts

Posted 28 July 2009 - 08:48 AM

I do remember him as a 'corps' member of ballet theatre and he was quite impressive looking on stage.


He certainly photographed well.

#6 rjw2

rjw2

    New Member

  • New Member
  • Pip
  • 3 posts

Posted 14 August 2009 - 02:27 PM

Dick Beard, a dancer I know of primarily from Julie Kavanagh's SECRET MUSES, died on Saturday, July 25th, in Los Angeles, California, where he lived, according to an email sent to a colleague by a close friend of Beard's.
apparently in addition to everything else, Beard was serious dance historian in his post-performing years.
the attached photo scan comes from David Leddick's 'The Male Nude' (Taschen).

The photo was one of a set taken by George Platt Lynes

#7 rjw2

rjw2

    New Member

  • New Member
  • Pip
  • 3 posts

Posted 14 August 2009 - 03:34 PM

The link to Dick's obituary in the Los Angeles Times is:

http://www.legacy.co...p;pid=130699407

#8 carbro

carbro

    Late Board Registrar

  • Rest in Peace
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,361 posts

Posted 14 August 2009 - 08:56 PM

The photo was one of a set taken by George Platt Lynes

Thank you for that credit, rjw2. I'm sure some of our readers will recognize the Lynes style. For others, it may serve as an introduction to the photographer.

Welcome to BalletTalk.

#9 Richka

Richka

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPip
  • 95 posts

Posted 02 September 2009 - 10:22 AM

Dick Beard, a dancer I know of primarily from Julie Kavanagh's SECRET MUSES, died on Saturday, July 25th, in Los Angeles, California, where he lived, according to an email sent to a colleague by a close friend of Beard's.
apparently in addition to everything else, Beard was serious dance historian in his post-performing years.
the attached photo scan comes from David Leddick's 'The Male Nude' (Taschen).


I only know about Dick Beard from the Secret Muses book which is mostly about Sir Frederic Ashton's
relationship and obsession with him. The correspondence between them is fascinating as anyone who read the book knows. Sir Fred wanted to bring him in to the Royal Ballet company but at that time it would have been impossible in England for a foreigner (as an American, Beard would have been a foreigner) to join. He possibly could have gotten a work permit from the Home Office as a 'foreign artist'. Now of course it's entirely different and RB is in fact made up of mostly non-British.
Does anyone know how old Dick Beard was when he died, and from what cause. He must have been fairly old if he was a Principal with ABT during the 1940s.

#10 Simon G

Simon G

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 564 posts

Posted 02 September 2009 - 10:43 AM

I only know about Dick Beard from the Secret Muses book which is mostly about Sir Frederic Ashton's
relationship and obsession with him. The correspondence between them is fascinating as anyone who read the book knows. Sir Fred wanted to bring him in to the Royal Ballet company but at that time it would have been impossible in England for a foreigner (as an American, Beard would have been a foreigner) to join. He possibly could have gotten a work permit from the Home Office as a 'foreign artist'. Now of course it's entirely different and RB is in fact made up of mostly non-British.
Does anyone know how old Dick Beard was when he died, and from what cause. He must have been fairly old if he was a Principal with ABT during the 1940s.



Richka,

Beard was born in 1926 making him 83 when he died.

However, you're inaccurate on several counts. Beard was offered a place in the Sadlers Wells Touring Company, (now Birmingham Royal Ballet) which he declined he wanted a position in the Sadlers Wells Ballet (now Royal Ballet) based at Covent Garden. Although Ashton kept promising to get him a spot in the main company De Valois wasn't ameneable to this.

It was actually far far easier for Americans to work in the UK and vice versa back then and it's far harder now for foreign artists to achieve work permit status, let alone full residency status in the UK. Indeed with the current political climate and the UK's increasingly stringent policies regarding foreign nationals taking up qualified positions within the UK, the Government recently amended their criteria allowing highly trained ballet dancers to not have to submit to the university qualification criteria.

Also back then the company was composed of New Zealanders, Australians, South Africans, Russians, Rhodesians, Lithuanians, Canadians etc (to name a few nationalities off the top of my head) the only difference real difference was that the majority had been trained at the Sadlers Wells Ballet school (now Royal Ballet school) as opposed to coming to the company fully formed in other schools and companies as is now the case because the school can't seem to produce viable stars.

Also Dick Beard was never a principal with American Ballet Theatre, (then simply called Ballet Theatre) he was a corps de ballet dancer, who was elevated to certain roles because Anthony Tudor was sexually attracted to him, ditto Ashton when he saw him in 1946 in Pillar of Fire. If anything the consensus was that his physical beauty detracted from his becoming the dancer he had the potential to be.

#11 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25,965 posts

Posted 02 September 2009 - 11:38 AM

Thank you, Simon.



Dick should have been a star. He had so much going for him -- Nora Kaye used to say that he had the best pair of legs since Serge Lifar -- but he was lazy. He rested on his glamour.



Maybe not the a career Kaye or Ashton would have liked for him. But ... he worked.



If anything the consensus was that his physical beauty detracted from his becoming the dancer he had the potential to be.





There’s a difference between working decently hard and the focused dedication required for reaching the top in ballet, and it sounds as if the latter is what Beard was lacking. ‘Lazy’ is perhaps a little harsh but the very young and gorgeous can get accustomed to having good things materialize for them.

Could also be that Beard was happy as he was and didn’t want to get consumed by his career.

#12 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 02 September 2009 - 01:31 PM

Arlene Croce's 1997 New Yorker article on Ashton includes the following quote (Ashton writing to Beard):

I think that it is so wonderful that you who are so beautiful want to see your beauty and spread beauty from out of your being.

My goodness! Or, as a teenager might put it nowadays: "OMG!"

I don't believe that the article -- "The Loves of His Life," May 19, 1997, issue -- has been reprinted in any of Croce's collections.

http://archives.newy...derek#folio=084

#13 Simon G

Simon G

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 564 posts

Posted 02 September 2009 - 01:40 PM

Arlene Croce's 1997 New Yorker article on Ashton includes the following quote (Ashton writing to Beard):

I think that it is so wonderful that you who are so beautiful want to see your beauty and spread beauty from out of your being.

My goodness! Or, as a teenager might put it nowadays: "OMG!"

I don't believe that the article -- "The Loves of His Life," May 19, 1997 -- has been reprinted in any of Croce's collections.



Bart,

I think "teenage" is the operative word. Ashton was obviously in thrall and also liked euphemism in his love letters. The one I liked reprinted in the Kavanagh was when Ashton wrote about Beard "showering him with stars".

#14 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 02 September 2009 - 01:53 PM

Simon, the Ashton story is indeed well documented. However, you write in an earlier post that Beard

was elevated to certain roles because Anthony Tudor was sexually attracted to him. (Boldface is added.)

I've been dipping into some of the literature on Beard -- and rechecking some stuff about Tudor -- and have not found such a suggestion. Considering the implications, I'd appreciate any documentation you have for this statement.

#15 Simon G

Simon G

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 564 posts

Posted 02 September 2009 - 02:03 PM

Simon, the Ashton story is indeed well documented. However, you write in an earlier post that Beard

was elevated to certain roles because Anthony Tudor was sexually attracted to him. (Boldface is added.)

I've been dipping into some of the literature on Beard -- and rechecking some stuff about Tudor -- and have not found such a suggestion. Considering the implications, I'd appreciate any documentation you have for this statement.



I'm not sure I understand what the implications are? I didn't say he wanted to have sex with him but was attracted to his youtful and sexual allure, hence the casting in ballets where he had little or nothing to do except "be" an object of desire and Tudor's excommunication of Beard from Ballet Theatre after the machinations of Kaye to win Beard for Ashton.

Sexual attraction needn't be a salacious or seedy thing, it's merely a fact of human nature.


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):