Timeline about The Suzanne Farrell Ballet
New York Times Chief Dance Critic Alastair Macaulay has praised The Suzanne Farrell Ballet for "tackling arduous roles…with degrees of energy, scale, detailed nuance, and musical sophistication seldom found anywhere." And Washington Post dance critic Sarah Kaufman has stated that, "among Washington's cultural highlights," the company "is undeniably one of the classiest."
Under the Artistic Direction of George Balanchine's most celebrated muse, The Suzanne Farrell Ballet continues to flourish as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' own ballet company in Washington, D.C. Combining her vast artistic strengths and teaching gifts with her deep, inimitable insight into the Balanchine canon, Ms. Farrell carries forth "Mr. B's" enduring legacy—sharing his profound vision and influential works with world audiences via company tours, artistic partnerships, and educational residencies.
An ever-growing repertoire of beloved ballets
More than 65 works choreographed by George Balanchine, Maurice Béjart, and Jerome Robbins now stand in the company's repertoire, and that number continues to grow each year. Among them are the iconic Balanchine ballets Agon, Apollo, Mozartiana, Episodes, Liebeslieder Walzer, Prodigal Son, Serenade, and Swan Lake, as well as Robbins's Afternoon of a Faun and the scene d'amour from Béjart's Romeo and Juliet.
Several Balanchine ballets in the repertoire were originally created on Ms. Farrell. She now owns the exclusive restaging rights to three of them: Don Quixote, Meditation, and Tzigane. Others include Chaconne, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, Movements for Piano and Orchestra, and Diamonds from the three-part Jewels, which The Suzanne Farrell Ballet performed in full for its 10th anniversary in 2011. Robbins's In Memory Of… was also created for Ms. Farrell, as well as Béjart's Sonate No. 5 andPaul Mejia's Eight by Adler, all now part of the company's repertoire.
Additionally, Ms. Farrell created a popular program in 2003 called "The Balanchine Couple," which she scripted and narrates, highlighting landmark pas de deux from the choreographer's body of work. And since 2007, she has been committed to restaging rarely seen or "lost" ballets through her Balanchine Preservation Initiative. Produced with the knowledge and cooperation of The George Balanchine Trust, the initiative so far has breathed new life into more than a dozen works significant to "Mr. B's" history, including Ragtime, Divertimento Brillante, Variations for Orchestra, Pithoprakta, and Clarinade. Many of these ballets had not been seen for decades before Ms. Farrell revived them.
An artistic triumph spanning more than 20 years
What began in 1993 as an invitation from the Kennedy Center—asking Ms. Farrell to lead a series of master classes for local ballet students—has grown and evolved to become one of the Center's crown jewels in its educational and performance offerings.
The prestigious three-week intensive Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell now attracts students to Washington, D.C., each summer from all around the world, including the United States, Mexico, Japan, China, Romania, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Switzerland, and the UK. A 2003 National Medal of Arts recipient and 2005 Kennedy Center Honoree, Ms. Farrell is also a tenured Eppes Scholar Professor in the Dance Department at Florida State University, Tallahassee, where The Suzanne Farrell Ballet has enjoyed an ongoing residency since 2005.
While the company has performed annually at the Kennedy Center since 2001, The Suzanne Farrell Ballet has extended its reach far beyond Washington, D.C., through numerous tours. Nationally, Ms. Farrell's dancers have performed everywhere from New York to Texas, Kansas to California. The company has also been invited to participate in many prominent festivals including the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival (2006), the first annual Gettysburg Arts Festival (2008), Fall for Dance at New York City Center (2008), and the Kennedy Center's own Ballet Across America festival (2010). Internationally, The Suzanne Farrell Ballet has graced the stages of the Edinburgh International Arts Festival (2006), the National Theater for Opera and Ballet in Sofia, Bulgaria (2010), and most recently the Royal Opera House in Muscat, Oman (2013).
Key to many of the company's endeavors are Ms. Farrell's artistic partnerships, including collaborations with The National Ballet of Canada (Don Quixote, 2005), Cincinnati Ballet (Chaconne, 2007), Ballet Austin (Episodes, 2008), the Bulgarian National Ballet (Agon, 2010), and The Sarasota Ballet (Diamonds, 2011). These efforts have helped solidify The Suzanne Farrell Ballet as a leader in galvanizing and supporting the work of other ballet companies.
More so than ever, it's clear that The Suzanne Farrell Ballet is "an exciting company to keep re-watching season after season" (Alastair Macaulay, The New York Times). From Balanchine, Ms. Farrell "has found a way to give us something new… and to offer us fresh perspectives on his genius" (Sarah Kaufman, The Washington Post).