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Suzanne Farrell interview at the Academy of Achievement'Ballerina of the Century'


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#1 pherank

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 03:41 PM

My apologies if this has been linked to before...

 

Academy of Achievement - "Ballerina of the Century"

Five page Suzanne Farrell interview with audio/video interview clips:
http://www.achieveme.../page/far0int-1

 

 

 

I learned to love dance for its own sake. The feeling that it gave me -- the happiness, the security, the release of my feelings, -- it made me a person. It brought out in me the person whom I had the potential to become. I think that's why I loved it for its own sake, not to be a ballerina. On the other hand, I think it is wonderful for everyone to take ballet classes, at any age. It gives you a discipline, it gives you a place to go. It gives you some control in your life. You are with music. You express yourself in a way that you can't explain, even to your best friend. And it is in a beautiful environment.

 

People think that you get out there, and you become someone else, Dulcinea or the gypsy, and that the whole rest of the world doesn't exist. But that's not true. Yes, you don't see a lot of things that are going on around you, but you very much know what is happening in this world that you are in. You can't get lost in this dream world. I've had situations where my partner has forgotten to come in, to catch me. So you have to think on the spot. I've fallen down onstage. Believe me, you don't know how fast you can move, how quick you can think, and how smart you can become, until you are in a situation where you have fallen, and people are looking at you. Those are the situations that you learn from.

 

I think he (Balanchine) was a great philosopher. He had a wonderful theory that you live in the "now," which I think is important. Along with living in the moment, you also have to assume the responsibility that goes along with it, and you don't take your position lightly. But it also means that you get the full value of the moment that you are living, so you don't look back on your life and say, "If only I hadn't wasted time, if only I had done this." You do the best you can. It was wonderful to be able to go home after a performance, and think, well it wasn't maybe so good, but it was the best I could be at that time. Then you have a departure point and some place to go to for the next time. At least you know you tried your best. There is always some kind of progress, and you learn from that situation.


#2 Jack Reed

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 05:21 PM

No apology necessary, pherank.  I think it has been linked to before, but no apology necessary.  Or appropriate, as far as I'm concerned.  People will see these wise words - remember, folks, technically, Farrell is a high-school dropout, and although I think she got a kind of tutorial from a very wise man, it is greatly to her credit that she could absorb and did absorb what he had to offer -  people will see this who didn't see it before, and they will benefit.  Or have another chance to, anyway.  

 

But you knew that, didn't you?   



#3 pherank

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 06:44 PM

But you knew that, didn't you?   

 

Young dancers may find her remarks and reflections especially inspiring. But she's a smart woman and has gathered a lot of insight into life in general. She made something of herself - and that process is worth sharing with the world.



#4 canbelto

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 05:14 PM

I'm going to have to respectfully dissent here. I don't find Farrell's comments in this interview particularly insightful. She doesn't seem to get at all that the vast majority of dancers, even the most successful ones, do not grow up, enter a company, and instantly become the muse of the greatest choreographic genius of the 20th century. That was her experience, it is not the experience of the vast majority of dancers. Farrell actually sounds like a lot of CEOs who have no empathy that not everyone has their combination of talent, luck, and being at the right place at the right time. 

 

I found this to be a disappointing interview compared to her book, Elusive Muse, and other interviews she's given, where she's gone into more detail about the struggles she DID have to face. 



#5 pherank

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 04:18 PM

Sounds like you want a different kind of interview, but it is what it is. The questions are specifically about Farrell and her experiences, and she responds well and appropriately, imo, to some pretty obvious questions (and some vague, poorly worded questions too: "Did you do what you started out to do, or did it just happen? Was dance what you wanted?". It's not a long interview but she gets some good details in anyway, covering various subjects.

She doesn't seem to get at all that the vast majority of dancers, even the most successful ones, do not grow up, enter a company, and instantly become the muse of the greatest choreographic genius of the 20th century. That was her experience, it is not the experience of the vast majority of dancers. Farrell actually sounds like a lot of CEOs who have no empathy that not everyone has their combination of talent, luck, and being at the right place at the right time.


I'm not sure where you're getting this from - it doesn't come from her words, and as you noted, her autobiography goes into more detail (naturally) than this interview can hope to. I've never heard her say anything that seemed to deny the experience of others. And I'll just say that the corporate executives I've been around never sound like Suzanne Farrell. ;)

I presume you've watched the Kennedy Center Honors programs before, and it's the same kind of thing: a quick overview of someone's life experiences but only time for a few details. Imagine if the Jerome Robbins Honors program had actually gone into the details. Yikes!

#6 kfw

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 06:19 PM

 I don't find Farrell's comments in this interview particularly insightful. She doesn't seem to get at all that the vast majority of dancers, even the most successful ones, do not grow up, enter a company, and instantly become the muse of the greatest choreographic genius of the 20th century. That was her experience, it is not the experience of the vast majority of dancers. Farrell actually sounds like a lot of CEOs who have no empathy that not everyone has their combination of talent, luck, and being at the right place at the right time.

 

I remember seeing an interview with Natalia Magnicaballi in which she said of Farrell, "I love her." Someone lacking in empathy would not have Farrell's reputation as a wonderful teacher and stager.




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