(born August 16, 1945) is an eminent 20th century ballerina
and the founder of the Suzanne Farrell Ballet
at the Kennedy Center
in Washington, D.C.
She was born as Roberta Sue Ficker
, and received her early training at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music
. In 1961, she was selected to study at George Balanchine
's School of American Ballet
with a Ford Foundation
scholarship; she started there in 1960, and joined the New York City Ballet
(NYCB) in 1961.
Early career at NYCB
Initially part of the corps de ballet
at NYCB, Farrell soon moved on to dancing featured roles. The first roles created especially for her came in 1963, and in 1965 she was promoted to principal dancer
. George Balanchine
quickly fell in love with his "alabaster princess", and created many roles for her. Farrell described learning choreography from Balanchine as a collaborative process, saying, "When Mr. B was working on a ballet, something would just spill out of his body; he could rarely duplicate it, so I tried to see precisely what he wanted the first time." Fragos, Emily. , BOMB Magazine
, Fall 2003. Retrieved 20 July 2011. In 1965 he created Don Quixote
, thought to be a valentine to his newest "muse." In 1968 he cast her as the lead in the "Diamonds" section of his three-act plotless ballet "Jewels".
Balanchine was married to the polio-stricken former ballerina Tanaquil LeClerq
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