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Farrell receives Nat'l Medal of Arts

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Why this was a state secret, I know not, but we just got this press release from the White House:

National Medal of Arts Recipients for 2003

(Note that Tommy Tune, was also honored)

November 12, 2003

President George W. Bush today announced the National Medal of Arts Recipients for the year 2003. The awards will be presented by the President in an Oval Office Ceremony today. The President will be joined by First Lady Laura Bush, Honorary Chair of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities and Dana Gioia, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Award Recipients:

Mac Christensen, President of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, accepting on behalf of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (Salt Lake City, Utah)

Beverly Cleary, Children's Book Author (Carmel, California)

Rafe Esquith, Arts Educator, Fifth Grade Teacher (Los Angeles, California)

Suzanne Farrell, Dancer, Artistic Director, Arts Educator (Morristown, New Jersey)

Buddy Guy, Blues Musician (Orland Park, Illinois)

Ron Howard, Actor, Director, Writer, Producer (Greenwich, Connecticut)

Leonard Slatkin, Symphony Orchestra Conductor for the National Symphony Orchestra (Potomac, Maryland)

Evan Andrew Smith, Chairman of the Board of KLRU, the PBS station in Austin, accepting on behalf of Austin City Limits, (Austin, Texas)

George Strait, Country Singer, Songwriter (San Antonio, Texas)

Tommy Tune, Broadway Director, Actor (New York City, New York)

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How does she run a company in DC from Morristown?

I still think I got some of my best training there at NJB from various retired Joffrey & ABT (etc.) solists and corps, ... Joseph Carow, Charthel Arther, Alaine Haubert, Ali Poukfarouhk, Basil Thompson, George Tomal, Caroline Clark, Evee Lynn all did stints there.... but I don't think the studio even exists any more. And God only knows how different the town now is...

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Yes, NJB and it's school still exist, but not their studio in Morristown where I grew up... nor the one in West Orange where I also studied....which is unfortunate because both had nice large studios with a well sprung floors.... however perhaps their new studios in Livingston, Morris Plains and Somerville are even nicer... I don't know... I don't think I've been there since the '70s.

Come to think of it, back then Garden State Ballet had a competing studio on the other side of the town square... It was a pretty large town in that part of NJ, and property values in the surrounding areas skyrocketed with the advent of corporate parks... I don't know whether Morristown benefited or not, but the surrounding area should be able to provide lots of wealthy patrons... although NJ always suffered from it's proximity to NYC (why go to a local performance when one could see the best in the world just 45 minutes away?)(also most of the best students quickly went on scholarship in NY as soon as they were able) It's great for busing in talented techers, but difficult in other ways...

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I'm so happy for Suzanne Farrell on getting this award . I hope her plans to make her company full-time are also successful. It would make me so happy to see that be a reality.

The Farrell Ballet currently only works together for 20 weeks out of the year so that may be why she hasn't relocated to DC yet. There are also to Morristowns in NJ. One is in Morris County and the other is in Middlesex. I think its hard to say where she really lives right now.

Best of Luck to her and the Company.

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Here's the full press release from the Kennedy Center:

Washington, D.C. -- Suzanne Farrell, Artistic Director of the Kennedy Center’s The Suzanne Farrell Ballet and Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell, has been awarded the National Medal of Arts for 2003. The awards were presented by President George W. Bush on Wednesday, November 12, 2003, in an Oval Office ceremony. The President was joined by First Lady Laura Bush, Honorary Chair of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, and Diana Giola, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. The National Medal of Arts is the federal government’s highest acknowledgement of the contributions of artists.

Suzanne Farrell was one of George Balanchine’s most celebrated muses and remains a legendary figure in the ballet world. She is a repetiteur for the George Balanchine Trust, the independent organization founded after the choreographer’s death by the heirs to his ballets to oversee their worldwide licensing and production. Since 1988 she has staged Balanchine’s works for companies all over the world. She was born in Cincinnati, and she received her early training at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. Ms. Farrell joined Balanchine’s New York City Ballet in the fall of 1961 after a year as a Ford Foundation scholarship student at the School of American Ballet. Her unique combination of musical, physical, and dramatic gifts quickly ignited Balanchine’s imagination. By the mid 1960s, she was not only Balanchine’s most prominent ballerina, she was a symbol of the era, and remains so to this day. She restated and re-scaled such Balanchine masterpieces as Apollo, Concerto Barocco, and Symphony in C. Balanchine went on to invent new ones for her-Diamonds, for example, and Chaconne and Mozartiana, in which the limits of ballerina technique were expanded to a degree not seen before or since. By the time she retired from the stage in 1989, Ms. Farrell had achieved a career that is without precedent or parallel in the history of ballet.

During her 28 years on the stage, she danced a repertory of more than one hundred ballets, nearly a third of which were composed expressly for her by Balanchine and other choreographers, including Jerome Robbins and Maurice Béjart. Her numerous performances with Balanchine’s company (more than two thousand), her world tours, and her appearances in television and movies have made her one of the most recognizable and highly esteemed artists of her generation. She is also the recipient of numerous artistic and academic accolades. Since the fall of 2000, Ms. Farrell has been a tenured professor of dance at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida.

Suzanne Farrell began her association as a teacher with the Kennedy Center in 1993 and 1994 when the Kennedy Center offered two series of ballet master classes for students from metropolitan Washington and Baltimore with Ms. Farrell. The Kennedy Center enlarged 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. This intensive three-week program, Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell, takes place each summer and has just finished its 11th session. Since 2000, she has been the Artistic Director of the Kennedy Center’s The Suzanne Farrell Ballet which made its debut during the Kennedy Center’s Balanchine Celebration performing Divertimento No. 15. The company has since presented an east-coast tour, performances in residence at Florida State University – where Ms. Farrell is a professor in the department of dance – and two full seasons at the Kennedy Center. The company is currently completing a nationwide tour that has taken The Suzanne Farrell Ballet from the East to the South, to the Midwest and West in three programs of all Balanchine repertory. Following the reaming tour performances in Berkeley, CA and Santa Fe, NM, the company will open the Kennedy Center’s 2002-2003 ballet season with a full week of performances in the Eisenhower Theater on December 2, 2003.

In addition to her work for the Balanchine Trust, she has served in a variety of cultural and philanthropic organizations such as the New York State Council on the Arts, the Arthritis Foundation, the Professional Children’s School, and the Princess Grace Foundation. Summit Books published her autobiography, Holding On to the Air in 1990 and Suzanne Farrell – Elusive Muse (directed by Anne Belle and Deborah Dickson) was an Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Film in 1997.

Ms. Farrell joins her Kennedy Center colleague Leonard Slatkin, Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra, as a recipient of the National Medal of Arts for 2003. Other recipients were Mac Christensen (President of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, accepting on behalf of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir), Beverly Cleary (Children's Book Author), Rafe Esquith (Arts Educator and Fifth Grade Teacher) Buddy Guy (Blues Musician), Ron Howard (Actor, Director, Writer, and Producer), Evan Andrew Smith (Chairman of the Board of KLRU, the PBS station in Austin, accepting on behalf of Austin City Limits), George Strait (Country Singer and Songwriter), and Tommy Tune (Broadway Director and Actor).

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Thanks for the reply Alexandra. I just saw the elusive muse which has Paul M. in it.

That was much better than I imagined it would be. I'm surprised there was so much footage of Suzanne in the earlier years. I saw a small piece of this once before but finally got to see the whole thing tonight. It was very interesting.

So what is Helene A. doing now? Was anyone expecting her to retire when she did?

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