The Kennedy Center

The Suzanne Farrell Ballet


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 1993, the Kennedy Center invited Suzanne Farrell to lead a series of ballet master classes for students from the metropolitan Washington region. In 1995, this master class series transitioned into a three week summer intensive program attracting students from across the United States.  Since 2003, the program has included international students from countries including Mexico, Japan, China, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, UK, and Switzerland.   This intensive three-week program, Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell, takes place each summer and 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 Suzanne Farrell Stages the Masters of 20th Century Ballet
In the fall of 2000, Suzanne Farrell staged Mozartiana on the Bolshoi Ballet as part of the Kennedy Center’s Balanchine Celebration.  She also gathered her own group of dancers to present Divertimento No. 15 at the festival.  After earning rave reviews, the group went on to perform 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 fifty ballets in its repertoire including works by Ms. Farrell’s mentors George Balanchine, Maurice Béjart, and Jerome Robbins.  In June 2010, the Company participated in the Kennedy Center’s Ballet Across America II festival. 
In June 2005, the Company collaborated with The National Ballet of Canada to restage Balanchine’s Don Quixote.  The evening-length ballet was originally created in 1965 by George Balanchine specifically for Ms. Farrell and is unique to The Suzanne Farrell Ballet.  It had not been performed in twenty-five years. The Suzanne Farrell Ballet traveled to the Edinburgh International Arts Festival in 2006 to present this landmark revival marking the Company’s first international engagement.
The Suzanne Farrell Ballet gave its debut performance at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance festival in 2006.  In 2008, the Company performed as part of the First Annual Gettysburg Arts Festival (PA) and the esteemed Fall for Dance festival at the New York City Center.
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 ten Balanchine Preservation Initiative Ballets including Ragtime (Balanchine/Stravinsky), Divertimento Brillante (Balanchine/Glinka), and Pithoprakta (Balanchine/Xenakis).
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.   In 2008, the company selected Ballet Austin as an artistic partner and presented Episodes. In 2011, the company will partner with The Sarasota Ballet to present Diamonds in Washington, DC (Oct 2011), Sarasota, FL (Nov 2011), and Clearwater, FL (Nov 2011). The mission of this initiative is to salute, support, and galvanize ballet companies throughout the United States.
In June 2010, the Company traveled to Sofia, Bulgaria, to perform Agon in a shared evening with the National Ballet of Bulgaria in a program titled “Balanchine and Farrell: American Ballet for Bulgaria” presented by Cultural Bridges Association.  This trip marks the Company’s second international appearance.
In October 2011, The Suzanne Farrell Ballet celebrates 10 years of annual engagements at the Kennedy Center.  As a part of the anniversary celebration the Company will travel to New York City for a week of performances at The Joyce Theater followed by touring in Florida, Kansas, Massachusetts, and Vermont.

The Suzanne Farrell Ballet gave its final performances in December 2017. Thank you for your support of the company!

Watch Past Performances

Video 10/12/2016: The Suzanne Farrell Ballet

The Suzanne Farrell Ballet previews its upcoming Eisenhower Theater engagement with excerpts of this season’s ballets: Danses Concertantes, Gounod Symphony, and Stars and Stripes. Watch the dancers perform and hear Ms. Farrell illuminate the ballets with commentary and discussion about what makes these works special.

Video 10/15/2015: The Suzanne Farrell Ballet

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Balanchine’s Don Quixote, the Kennedy Center’s own ballet company dances two sections from the iconic work, as well as excerpts from the company’s upcoming performances in the Opera House (Oct. 30–Nov. 1).

Video 10/23/2013: The Suzanne Farrell Ballet

Sneak a peek into the company’s upcoming season with excerpts from Balanchine favorites and more.

Video 9/23/2011: Members of The Suzanne Farrell Ballet

A preview performance in honor of the Company’s 10th anniversary.

The Suzanne Farrell Ballet