Richka, on Sep 2 2009, 07:22 PM, said:
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.
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.