Farrell, Suzanne

Farrell, Suzanne

(fâr`əl), 1945–, American ballet dancer, b. Cincinnati, Ohio, as Roberta Sue Ficker. After studying in her hometown and at the School of American Ballet, she joined the New York City BalletNew York City Ballet
(NYCB), one of the foremost American dance companies of the 20th and 21st cents. It was founded by Lincoln Kirstein and George Balanchine as the Ballet Society in 1946.
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. BalanchineBalanchine, George
, 1904–83, American choreographer and ballet dancer, b. St. Petersburg, Russia, as Georgi Balanchivadze. The son of a Georgian composer and a Russian mother, Balanchine attended (1913–21) the Imperial Ballet School, St.
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, recognizing the emotional depth of her performances, created roles for her in such works as Meditation (1963) and Don Quixote (1965). From 1970 to 1974 she was a member of BéjartBéjart, Maurice
, 1927–2007, French ballet dancer and opera director, b. Marseilles as Maurice Jean Berger. After studying in Marseilles, Paris, and London, he danced and choreographed for the Royal Swedish Ballet and the Ballets de l'Étoile before forming
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's Ballet of the 20th Century. In 1974 she returned to City Ballet, where she resumed her role as Balanchine's muse and danced in many of his works including Schumann's Davidsbundlertanze and Tizane as well as in Jerome RobbinsRobbins, Jerome,
1918–98, American choreographer and dancer, b. New York City as Jerome Wilson Rabinowitz. Robbins began his career dancing in musicals (1937). In 1940 he joined the Ballet Theatre and in 1948 became associate artistic director of the New York City Ballet.
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's Concerto in G and others. Farrell became a teacher at the company after her retirement in 1989. Her strained relations with City Ballet's director at the time, her former partner Peter MartinsMartins, Peter,
1946–, Danish ballet dancer and choreographer. He studied at the School of the Royal Danish Ballet and performed with its company (1965–69). In 1969 he joined the New York City Ballet, where he danced in numerous ballets, including Chaconne
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, ended in her dismissal in 1993. She then taught Balanchine's ballets, technique, and philosophy to dance companies throughout the world. From 1999 to 2017, with the backing of the Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C., she headed the Suzanne Farrell Ballet, noted especially for its Balanchine performances. Since 2000 she has also been a dance professor at Florida State Univ. In 2019 City Ballet again hired her to coach its dancers.


See her autobiography (1991).

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Farrell, Suzanne (b. Roberta Sue Fricker)

(1945–  ) ballet dancer; born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her mother encouraged ballet lessons as a cure for "tomboyishness." Noticed by a scout for the School of American Ballet, she auditioned for George Balanchine on her 15th birthday and won a scholarship to the school. After only six months in the New York City Ballet's corps de ballet, she became a featured dancer (1962); by 1965 she was a principal dancer. Called one of Balanchine's muses, he choreographed several dances for her including Variations (1966). She taught a masters class at the University of Cincinnati, and on her retirement from the Ballet at age 44, she taught at the School of American Ballet until she was fired in 1993.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.