Exploring Ballet With Suzanne Farrell:
A Three-Week Summer Ballet Intensive for Young Dancers

Photo of Suzanne Farrell teaching

Since 1993, ballet students from around the country have descended upon the nation's capital for three weeks of intense study with one of the most important ballerinas of the 20th century. The ballerina is Suzanne Farrell and the students are some of the best that ballet has to offer.

In July and August, students from across the United States and around the world will participate in the twenty-fourth annual session of the Kennedy Center's ballet training program Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell. The three-week residency for dancers ages 14 to 18 with at least five years of ballet training will be held at the Kennedy Center from July 25 August 13, 2016.

During the three-week period, students take two ballet technique classes a day, six days a week, with Ms. Farrell. Students also participate in a number of cultural activities to enhance their experience in Washington, D.C., including museum visits, trips to historical landmarks, and attending performances.

History of the Program

Photo of Suzanne Farrell teaching

In 1993 and 1994, the Kennedy Center offered two series of ballet master classes for students with Farrell, a former New York City Ballet principal dancer. This series provided intermediate-to-advanced level ballet students, ages 13 to 17, an opportunity to study with one of the greatest ballerinas of the 20th century. Due to the uniqueness of Farrell's place in the ballet world and the quality of her teaching, the Kennedy Center expanded the program to a national level in 1995 in order to fulfill the Center's mission to enhance the arts education of America's young people.

In the fall of 1999, Ms. Farrell received critical acclaim for the successful Kennedy Center engagement and East Coast tour of Suzanne Farrell Stages the Masters of 20th Century Ballet. During the 2000 Kennedy Center Balanchine Celebration, the newly named Suzanne Farrell Ballet, produced by the Kennedy Center, performed Balanchine's Divertimento No. 15. The company, a group of professional dancers hand selected by Ms. Farrell, has since performed at the Kennedy Center during engagements in 2001 and 2002, been on an extensive East Coast tour, and returned to the Kennedy Center as part of the 2003-2004 Ballet Season following a 7-week national tour. Students from the Exploring Ballet program have started to join the ranks of The Suzanne Farrell Ballet. The company performed Balanchine's Don Quixote as part of the Kennedy Center's 2004-2005 Ballet Season, the ballet's first performance in twenty-five years. Suzanne Farrell was selected as one of the five recipients of the 2005 Kennedy Center Honors, one of the highest honors for lifetime artistic achievement.

Farrell danced with the New York City Ballet from 1965-1969 and from 1975-1989, and was one of George Balanchine's most celebrated muses.

Watch and Listen

Portrait Series: Suzanne Farrell

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Artistic Director Suzanne Farrell and former students discuss the Exploring Ballet program.

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