Richard Park Beard

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Richard Park Beard
1925 – 2009


Dick Beard was trained by Balanchine, Vladimiroff, Anatole Oboukoff and Pavlova's Muriel Stewart. He first appeared professionally with a new company – Ballet International (1944) – formed by the Marquis Geroge de Cuevas, rehearsed and trained there by Bronislava Nijinska, Leonide Massine, Mme. Vera Fokina and Boris Romanoff for their ballets; and dancing with Tatiana Riabouchinska among others. The company first appeared in the Park Theater built by William Randolph Hurst on Columbia Circle, Manhattan, and purchased by de Cuevas where Beard was seen and immediately taken into American Ballet Theater (known then as The Ballet Theater) by the great English choreographer Antony Tudor. Within weeks he created the role of the Bridegroom in Tudor's new ballet "Undertow"; William Schuman composer, premiere 10 April 1945, Metropolitan Opera House. Other solo roles followed: most importantly Paris in Tudor and Eugene Berman's exceptional production of "Romeo and Juliet" partnering Dame Alicia Markova, and in "Facimilie", a ballet by Jerome Robbins with a cast of only three dancers including ballerina Nora Kaye. Score by Leonard Bernstein.

Following a closure by Ballet Theater, Beard was invited to join one of Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein's several efforts to form a ballet company, Ballet Society. In 1948 Ballet Society became The New York City Ballet where, as a soloist, Beard became a founding member, dancing with ballerinas Marie-Jeanne, Tanaquil Le Clercq, Yvonne Mounsey and Elise Reiman. At NYCB he was reviewed by the nation's foremost dance critic Edwin Denby, as "the most promising young dancer is Dick Beard".

Following his career with NYCB his subsequent professional activity included two seasons with the Sid Caesar Imogene Coca "Your Show Of Shows" television series. He later formed a dance trio cabaret act appearing in hotels and clubs throughout the U.S. and in Paris. He later became involved in choereography for major television musical series starring Dinah Shore, Danny Kaye and Julie Andrews as well as television specials for Cher, Mitzi Gaynor, Shirley Maclaine, Doris Day and John Denver. Other choreography credit includes the "Beverly Hills Cotillion" ballroom dance troupe appearing mainly in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California.

Of importance, only Robert J. Wood, II remains. No Christian services.

(Illuminatons Photo by Cecil Beaton)
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Aug. 2, 2009
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