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Dick Beardformer NYCB and Ballet Theatre dancer


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#16 Richka

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Posted 02 September 2009 - 08:24 PM

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.



Thanks for this information. And your corrections. You seem to know lots about the U.K. policies regarding foreigners. I read Secret Muses when it first came out around early 90s I believe. so must have forgotten many details about Dick Beard. In the mid 1960s I joined a small touring ballet company in London and had to, as American, go to the Home Office for a work permit as a 'foreign artist'. That was the title though I was little more than a youngster with experience only in Summer stock. It was quite easy to get at that time and I had no trouble for nearly a year until British Equity kept after me to join. As this would have cost a fortune (I was making 15 pounds a week, girls made 5) I decided to quit. Actually I had planned on going to the Soviet Union anyway for study, and did.

#17 Simon G

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 03:28 AM

[

Thanks for this information. And your corrections. You seem to know lots about the U.K. policies regarding foreigners. I read Secret Muses when it first came out around early 90s I believe. so must have forgotten many details about Dick Beard. In the mid 1960s I joined a small touring ballet company in London and had to, as American, go to the Home Office for a work permit as a 'foreign artist'.



Richka,

There was a big deal made about this in the British press only recently. The UK has become super vigilant in the "War on Terror" including all applications by foreign nationals to work and live in the UK. (That is when we're not releasing Libyan mass murdering terrorists after only 7 years in prison on "compassionate (BP oil) grounds")

Part of this increased "xenophobia" is a clamp down on foreign nationals taking British jobs, the criteria for this means that now any non Brit must have paper proof of exceptional qualifications in order to take a job that could go to an equally qualified Brit. However, since ballet dancers qualifications are totally non academic the Royal Opera House and Tony Hall spearheaded a campaign for exceptional circumstances in the case of artists such as dancers, opera singers etc which was passed as it's been several hundred years (slight hyperbole here) since a British dancer of any real note or worth has risen through the ranks of a British ballet company to achieve star or international star status.

#18 leonid17

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 04:31 AM

All rules regarding employment in the UK are ultimately subject to EU regulations. We cannot make our own laws if they do not conform to EU legislation.

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) published the first review of the shortage occupation lists for skilled workers coming to the United Kingdom from outside the European Economic Area.

The shortage occupation list has three stringent tests: the occupation in question must be sufficiently skilled, there must be a shortage of workers and it must be sensible to fill this shortage with workers from outside the European Economic Area.

Professional dancers are on the Shortage Occupation list.

Dancers are required to be sponsored by the employing dance company to work in Britain.

In England, dancers can now study for BA (Hons) Ballet and Contemporary Dance.

At the Royal Ballet School, "In academic areas most students will complete one A level (current choice is from Art, English, Maths and French) and two BTEC National Awards in Performing Arts. (Students complete the award in Dance in the first year and Arts Management in the second.) For overseas students there is an excellent provision for English as a Foreign Language."

Updated legislation can be read at:
http://www.ukba.home...for_dancers.pdf

Apologies for going further off topic.

Amended 07.47

#19 Ray

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 07:11 AM

Apologies for going further off topic.


Yes, let's get back to Beard's legs, shall we? :wink:

#20 dirac

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 09:10 AM

Nora said it, we didnít. :wink:

I never thought Lifarís legs were so great, actually, but Kaye and I may not share the same tastes. Lew Christensenís were much better, IMO. No, letís not start a topic....

#21 Ray

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 09:34 AM

[font="Times New Roman"][size=3]Nora said it, we didn’t. :wink: [/size][/font]

[font="Times New Roman"][size=3]I never thought Lifar’s legs were so great, actually, but Kaye and I may not share the same tastes. Lew Christensen’s were much better, IMO. No, let’s not start a topic....[/size][/font]


"Legs" doesn't have legs, huh?

Ammended to add: and if we created a post called "Dick Beard's Legs," it might be the first in which each word refers to a body part...

#22 dirac

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 09:59 AM

Ahem. This is a decorous board.

Boy, it really is August. Or the tag end of summer, I should say.

#23 rg

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 01:30 PM

The following points concerning Dick Beard come from an email sent me by Alastair Macaulay, who has agreed to my posting it here:

Dick died of lung cancer from which he had been suffering for nine years;
only in the last few months did he admit it was irreversible. He had a close
friend, Jim, who looked after him constantly. Julie Kavanagh and Alastair
Macaulay kept in regular touch with him; and Alastair Macaulay (then
visiting LA) saw him this April, when Dick was still vivid and often funny
in conversation. Apart from dancing for Tudor, Balanchine, and Ashton
("Illuminations"), Dick Beard was in the first NYCB performances of Merce
Cunningham's "The Seasons" (especialling requesting to dance in this). He
partnered Yvonne Mounsey in NYCB's first performances of "The Four
Temperaments"; they danced Second Theme, were great friends and laughed a
great deal. He and Mounsey (who also lives - and still teaches - in LA) were
in touch again this April. In the last year of his life, he sold the letters
Ashton had written him to the Royal Opera House archive. In his house he
kept originals by Tchelitchew (whom he had known) and Berman (including the
original 3-D set model for "Concerto Barocco").

#24 bart

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 01:44 PM

Thanks for that, rg.

The range of the choreographers he worked with is rather impressive. Surely his beauty and sexual allure, significant though they obviously were, are just not enough to explain his career.

In the absence of a video record, Beard survives -- as do so many in her generation -- almost exclusively in still photographs, memoirs, anecdotes, and in critical reviews by people who often were not dance specialists. This is a real loss.

#25 rjw2

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 10:05 AM

In addition to what has been posted here, Dick had a long and successful career after leaving NYCB. He first formed a cabaret act, The Cabots, with Frank Sabella and Marion Saunders appearing throughout the United States at such venues as the Palmer House in Chicago and Bill Miller's Rivera in New York as well as appearing twice nightly for over a year at the Lido in Paris.

Next came the move to Hollywood and television choreography as has been mentioned. In addition to choreography he was often called upon to appear with stars of the programs including Juliet Prouse and Cyd Charisse.

He retired at his home in Hollywood but stayed in contact with not just Yvonne Mounsey (above) but Tatiana Riabouchinska, Nick Magallanes, Richard Thomas, Nancy Norman Lassalle, Paula Lloyd, Natalia Claire (for whom he taught classes at her school and staged ballets for her performances) and especially Roy Tobias and Fernand Nault, who often visited from Korea and Canada respectively as house guests.


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