bart, on 25 April 2011 - 11:27 AM, said:
Within a few years, of course, standards changed, and so did casting. "Exquisiteness of changing bodily configurations" and "poetic aura" became the new aesthetic ideal, and Farrell became its priestess. Dancers who expressed themselves differently, or whose body types were different, went out of fashion, fairly or unfairly.
Thus Hayden's often-quoted complaint that Balanchine changed company class to eliminate jumps because Farrell had knee problems, and how could a dancer maintain his/her technique with no jumping in class? The roles and expectations changed with Farrell.
dirac, on 25 April 2011 - 11:58 AM, said:
By 1969 almost everyone in Farrell’s life – Balanchine, her mother, even company management to some extent – was making every effort to push her into Balanchine’s bed.
Plus some of the dancers themselves, i.e., "Just put us out of his misery, already." d'Amboise doesn't go on about this, but does say she brought Mejia in as a third, clearly as protection at first.
canbelto, on 25 April 2011 - 11:30 AM, said:
About Suzanne Farrell, I think it's an example of the enduring power and loyalty of Balanchine's dancers that they generally took his "side" and decided to blame her instead for the very unhappy situation before she left the company. d'Amboise's comments just come as a surprise because they were partners for so long, that one would think he would feel some loyalty towards Suzanne too, and see the difficult situation Balanchine created for the entire company, and that he wasn't helping matters either.
I don't think he describes Balanchine's behavior as blameless. d'Amboise knew Balanchine's foibles well enough not only from observation, but from close personal friendships with his leading ballerinas. He sounds too strong-willed to deliberately whitewash Balanchine's behavior.
To me he sounds like a guy, and he reminds me of the scene in "Carlos Saura's Carmen
", where Paco de Lucia and another musician in Antonio Gades' flamenco troupe see that Gades' character is going over the deep end over Laura del Sol's Carmen character. They talk to him in that shorthand guy way, and when he makes it clear that he's heading over that cliff, they just shake their heads and wait for the train wreck to be over. He and the others of his generation had lived through this many times before.
dirac wrote "In the case of Balanchine and Farrell the power really only went one way – she had as much power as Balanchine chose to allow her and when the crunch came it was clear where the real clout was." I think that d'Amboise's description of this makes so much more sense out of her ultimatum than either she herself did, or the other accounts that describe him making many of the casting and rep decisions, rather than rubber-stamping hers.