StropheSekar

Suzanne Farrell

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Forgive me if I am rehashing an old topic, but I recently watched a video of Suzanne Farrell dancing Tzigane and I was absolutely amazed. Perhaps because my first teacher was so anti-Balanchine, I never sought out her performances, although I was aware of her reputation and had a vague knowledge of her background, particularly as a muse for Balanchine. A few weeks ago I read her autobiography and I was intrigued by her references to musicality and taking risks. After seeing her dance, it all clicked. She is incredible and I think I now have a new favorite ballerina.

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Welcome to BalletTalk, Strophe, and thanks for your thoughts on Farrell.

Many -- perhaps most -- ballet studios are partisan, and it's a shame that they have such power to close their students' minds. I'm glad you discovered Farrell on her terms, and perhaps through her, you'll find more revelations you'll share with us.

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I'm reviving this thread because I happened upon a particularly great interview with Farrell - the interviewer is Emily Fragos for BOMB Magazine. [sorry if this was posted somewhere previously]

Her comments strike me as wonderfuly lucid, and wise. Intellectually speaking, she certainly developed into one sharp cookie.

“I am not a programmed person,” she told me. “One thought ignites another; like mirrors, the image never stops.”
--Suzanne Farrell to Eily Fragos

http://bombsite.com/issues/85/articles/2603

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...

Intellectually speaking, she certainly developed into one sharp cookie.

...

I'll say! She's the best advertisement for dropping out of high school I've ever herd of!

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I'll say! She's the best advertisement for dropping out of high school I've ever herd of!

Apparently nowadays we can drop out of high school and join the CIA/NSA. But, that's another story...

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Apparently nowadays we can drop out of high school and join the CIA/NSA. But, that's another story...

A story I'm not up on. But when I think of Farrell's, a pretty remarkable one, one that makes you glad you're around, I think that her long association with George Balanchine may have been something like a long tutorial in place of schooling that too often dulls rather than puts people in possession of their powers. (Some of his other dancers have said that he didn't just teach them how to dance, but how to live.) I believe Balanchine also did not have a lot of formal schooling, not a long career in it anyway, but he was, like Farrell, very quick of mind, and rarely at a loss, and learned from experience. That's not to take anything away from Farrell; it's to her credit that she was able to absorb and benefit from what her "soul mate," as she calls him repeatedly in her autobiography, Holding on to the Air, had to offer. And she has in herself - independently of others - that quality of non-stop ignition she refers to in that remark to Fragos you quote. (Like fireworks, she illuminates her surroundings.)

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(I sleepily clicked the wrong button here this morning. Apparently we can delete the contents of a post we have second thoughts about, but not the post itself.)

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Apparently nowadays we can drop out of high school and join the CIA/NSA. But, that's another story...

A story I'm not up on.

> My reference to the Eward Snowden "affair" currently in the news. Now back to Farrell: I think you've probably described her situation quite well, and I realize that gives a double meaning to Balanchine's remark, "Suzanne didn't resist." Farrell absorbed a great deal, seemingly.

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High school isn't particularly relevant where it's not demanded as a credential for the next step or where the person is accomplished enough that the credential requirements are waived or not even considered.

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