DANCE | SUZANNE FARRELL
"Holding On To The Air" by Suzanne Farrell
Farrell, for years the chief muse of New York City Ballet cofounder and master choreographer George Balanchine, has led an extraordinary, frequently controversial life. Here with former NYCB dancer Bentley, she tells of it with humility, integrity, wit and sophistication. Farrell's is first of all a classically American story of a self-made woman: growing up a tomboy and a dance student in a broken home in Cincinnati, Ohio, she struck out at 15 for Manhattan with her mother and sisters on the chance that she might be accepted into the famed School of American Ballet. Discovered, aesthetically molded and eventually wooed by Russian-born Balanchine, she left NYCB in 1969 after it became apparent that her husband, dancer Paul Mejia, could have no career there so long as Mr. B.'s jealous moods prevailed. Farrell returned to the company in 1974 and retired in 1989 at the age of 44, one of the century's greatest ballerinas. The details of her decades as a dancer vie in interest here with those of her private self; she is both discreet and incisive in her views of on- and offstage events. Today, the Suzanne Farrell Ballet is the resident dance company at the Kennedy Center.
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