Suzanne Farrell Ballet
Wednesday, February 22, 7:30pm, Concert Hall
One of George Balanchine’s most celebrated muses, Suzanne Farrell remains a legendary figure in the ballet world. She joined Balanchine’s New York City Ballet in 1961, and by the mid-1960s had become not only one of Balanchine’s most renowned ballerinas but also a symbol of the era. She founded the Suzanne Farrell Ballet in 2000 as a way of preserving Balanchine’s legacy. The company has been described by The New York Times as “one of the most courageous projects in ballet today.” The Suzanne Farrell Ballet brings the full range of Balanchine's choreography to the Fine Arts Center.
The program will feature some of Balanchine’s most acclaimed and cherished works -- Haieff Divertimento, Meditation, Diamonds pas de deux, from Jewels, and Agon.
Reserved Seating: $40, 30, 15; FC, GCC, STCC and 17 & under $10
In just over a decade, The Suzanne Farrell Ballet has evolved from an educational program of the Kennedy Center to a highly lauded ballet company, hailed by the New York Times' Chief Dance Critic in 2007 as “one of the most courageous projects in ballet today.”
In 1994, the Education Department of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts began a series of ballet master classes for students from the metropolitan Washington region with the legendary Suzanne Farrell. This series provided intermediate to advanced-level ballet students the opportunity to study with one of the greatest ballerinas of the 20th century. Due to overwhelming interest, the Kennedy Center expanded the program to a national scale in 1995 creating a three week summer intensive titled Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell. Since 2003, the program has included international students from countries including Mexico, Japan, China, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, UK, and Switzerland. Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell, remains a prestigious and well-known program for talented young dancers.
In the fall of 1999, Ms. Farrell took cues from the masters of ballet with whom she studied to direct the Kennedy Center's production of, Suzanne Farrell Stages the Masters of 20th Century Ballet.
The following fall of 2000, The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, now a full-fledged ballet company produced by the Kennedy Center, made its debut during the Kennedy Center's Balanchine Celebration. After earning rave reviews, the Company again performed in early 2001 at Seven Days of Opening Nights at Florida State University, where Ms. Farrell is a tenured Eppes Scholar professor in the Dance Department.
Since 2001, The Suzanne Farrell Ballet has performed annually at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and has toured both nationally and internationally. Notably, the Company accepted an invitation to perform as a tribute to Ms. Farrell, a 2005 Honoree, as part of the nationally televised Kennedy Center Honors gala. To date the Company has over thirty-five ballets in its repertoire including works by Ms. Farrell's mentors George Balanchine, Maurice Béjart, and Jerome Robbins.
In June 2005, the Company collaborated with The National Ballet of Canada to restage Balanchine's Don Quixote, a ballet that had not been performed in nearly 25 years. The evening-length ballet was originally created in 1965 by George Balanchine specifically for Ms. Farrell and is unique to The Suzanne Farrell Ballet. The Company traveled to the Edinburgh International Arts Festival in 2006 to present this landmark revival.
Committed to carrying forth the legacy of George Balanchine through performances of his classic ballets, The Suzanne Farrell Ballet announced the formal creation of the Balanchine Preservation Initiative in February 2007. This initiative serves to introduce rarely seen or “lost” Balanchine works to audiences around the world. Many of these works have not been performed in nearly forty years. The Initiative is produced with the knowledge and cooperation of The George Balanchine Trust. To date, the Company's repertoire includes nine Balanchine Preservation Initiative Ballets including Ragtime (Balanchine/Stravinsky), Divertimento Brillante (Balanchine/Glinka), and Pithoprakta (Balanchine/Xenakis). In 2008, the Company participated in the prestigious Fall for Dance festival at New York City Center, sharing Pithoprakta with the New York audience for the first time in 40 years.
In November 2007, the Company launched an Artistic Partnership outreach program. Showcasing her teaching gifts Suzanne Farrell brought together her Company and Cincinnati Ballet, a nationally recognized company from her hometown, to present Chaconne. Featuring dancers from both companies, the ensemble performed in both Cincinnati and Washington, D.C. in November 2007. The mission of this initiative is to salute, support, and galvanize ballet companies throughout the United States. The Farrell Ballet repeated this program with Ballet Austin during the 2008/2009 season, this time performing Balanchine's Episodes in both Austin, TX and Washington, D.C.