Farrell, Suzanne

Farrell, Suzannefâr´əl, 1945–, American ballet dancer, b. Cincinnati, Ohio, as Roberta Sue Ficker. After studying in her hometown and at the School of American Ballet, she joined the New York City Ballet. Balanchine, recognizing the emotional depth of her performances, created roles for her in such works as Meditation (1963) and Don Quixote (1965). From 1970 to 1974 she was a member of Béjart's Ballet of the 20th Century. In 1974 she returned to City Ballet, where she resumed her role as Balanchine's muse and danced in many of his works including Schumann's Davidsbundlertanze and Tizane as well as in Jerome Robbins's Concerto in G and others. Farrell became a teacher at the company after her retirement in 1989. Her strained relations with City Ballet's director at the time, her former partner Peter Martins, ended in her dismissal in 1993. She then taught Balanchine's ballets, technique, and philosophy to dance companies throughout the world. From 1999 to 2017, with the backing of the Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C., she headed the Suzanne Farrell Ballet, noted especially for its Balanchine performances. Since 2000 she has also been a dance professor at Florida State Univ. In 2019 City Ballet again hired her to coach its dancers.

See her autobiography (1991).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Dance: Biographies