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Interview with Frederic Franklin
Balanchine, George (Choreographer)
Franklin, Frederic, 1914- (Interviewee)
Aloff, Mindy, 1947- (Interviewer)
Moylan, Mary Ellen (Dancer)
Denisova, Alexandra (Dancer)
Littlefield, Dorothie (Dancer)
Johnson, Kenneth (Dancer)
Klekovic, Patricia (Dancer)
Reynolds, Nancy, 1938- (Videographer)
Starbuck, James (Dancer)
George Balanchine Foundation (Host)

Popular Balanchine

Dates / Origin
Date Created: 2001-01-15
Table of Contents
Disc 1 (ca. 41 min.). Frederic Franklin speaks with Mindy Aloff about performing in the Broadway production of Song of Norway and working with George Balanchine; Mindy Aloff reads the production credits for the show; Franklin speaks about the show and how he became involved in the production; discovering at rehearsal that many dancers from Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo were in the show; the entrance for Freddy and his fiddle; the Chocolate shop trio that Franklin was originally part of until Sergei Denham saw him singing on table top and demanded that he not sing; how extraordinary it was to work with Balanchine; rehearsal process only lasting 2 1/2 weeks; not sure where the big ballet number should be placed in the show, ended up being the finale of Act II; about the Helena Bliss number with Lawrence Brooks and how Franklin magically becomes him for the ballet number; Balanchine cutting the length of the music for the ballet number; conflict between Irra Petina and Choura [Alexandra Danilova] and how that made their necklace scene even funnier; Balanchine using steps from Freddy and his fiddle in Baiser de la fee; Balanchine working with the piano score in hand; the first number choreographed by Balanchine in the rehearsal process was Freddy and his fiddle, then some entrances and soloist staging; opening in San Francisco; only performing in the show for two months and then all the current Ballet Russe members left the show to prepare for upcoming Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo season; because of applause during the bows Franklin and Choura [Danilova] were placed last; he already knew the Edvard Grieg music because of growing up in Liverpool, England; Aloff reads the Edwin Denby review of the show in New York; Franklin comments on it and working with Balanchine; Balanchine's career with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo beginning with Song of Norway; identifying seven photographs from the show including Freddy and his fiddle with Jimmy Starbuck, and Mary Ellen Moylan with Danilova; Balanchine not teaching class on a regular basis; the show follows Edvard Grieg's life; George Forrest and Robert Wright creating modern songs that were also popular hits; the War's [World War II] influence if any on Song of Norway [ends abruptly]. |||| Disc 2 (40 min.). Franklin speaks about Balanchine not checking show after he finished choreographing it; Balanchine only teaching a few classes and just enough to get them ready for show; Aloff and Franklin look at 16 photographs from both productions (1944 and 1962) including photographs and discussion of Alexandra Denisova, Dorothy Littlefield, Balanchine rehearsing the 1962 production, Kenneth Johnson and Patricia Klekovic; Aloff asks Franklin about comment from Library [Dance Division, NYPL] interview about some direction from Balanchine with cues for entrances; Aloff plays music from Act I (The legend, Hill of dreams, Freddy and his fiddle, Now, and Strange music) with observations from Franklin including the difference between opera voices (1962 version) and Broadway voices (1944 version), how the final ballet music was only the original Edvard Grieg music but the rest of the music was changed by George Forrest and Robert Wright, the Freddy and his fiddle number with a girl singing as he danced out her words, remembering some of the Balanchine choreography, the Now number with Irra Petina doing Spanish movement which lead to Choura's [Danilova's] entrance for necklace scene, and Strange music number having no dancers just used to continue the story. |||| Disc 3 (15 min.). Aloff continues by fast forwarding the music through Midsummer's eve while Franklin speaks about this scene; the dancers timing the show to know when they needed to go on; the original Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo cast not being included in the publicity on any information because they were leaving the show; how much dance was on Broadway in 1944 including On the town and Up in Central park (Helen Tamiris); Franklin thanking Aloff; Nancy Reynolds (videographer) asking Franklin to tell story about David Lichine being the original choreographer, Edwin Lester had worked with Lichine before and hired him but Sergei Denham demanded Balanchine instead; Lichine tried to hire Franklin in London; opening night party for Song of Norway, it was also Franklin's 31st birthday and Denham made him the Maestro of Ballet for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo; Franklin seeing Balanchine in the 1970's and being worried about Balanchine's health; and concludes with Franklin speaking about Mary Ellen Moylan being the understudy for Choura [Danilova] not Maria Tallchief.
Library locations
Jerome Robbins Dance Division
Shelf locator: *MGZIDVD 5-7316
Balanchine, George
Franklin, Frederic, 1914-2013
Danilova, Alexandra, 1907-1997
Denham, Sergei, 1896-1970
Petina, Irra, 1908-2000
Moylan, Mary Ellen
Grieg, Edvard, 1843-1907
Littlefield, Dorothie
Starbuck, James
Forrest, George, 1915-1999
Wright, Robert, 1914-2005
Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo
Wright, Robert, 1914-2005. Song of Norway
Venue: Videotaped during an interview at the Balanchine Foundation, New York, N.Y., on Jan. 15, 2001.
Acquisition: Gift; George Balanchine Foundation. NN-PD
Physical Description
Extent: 3 videocassettes (DVCam) (96 min.) : sound, color ; 1/4 in.
Type of Resource
Moving image
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b19683793
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 30b193f0-f747-0130-9395-3c075448cc4b
Rights Statement
The copyright and related rights status of this item has been reviewed by The New York Public Library, but we were unable to make a conclusive determination as to the copyright status of the item. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use.

Item timeline of events

  • 2001: Created
  • 2018: Digitized
  • 2024: Found by you!
  • 2025

MLA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Interview with Frederic Franklin" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 2001.

Chicago/Turabian Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Interview with Frederic Franklin" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed July 14, 2024.

APA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. (2001). Interview with Frederic Franklin Retrieved from

Wikipedia Citation

<ref name=NYPL>{{cite web | url= | title= (moving image) Interview with Frederic Franklin, (2001)|author=Digital Collections, The New York Public Library |accessdate=July 14, 2024 |publisher=The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations}}</ref>

Interview with Frederic Franklin