CriticalDance Forum

Suzanne Farrell's new Florida position
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Author:  grace [ Sat Sep 16, 2000 2:28 am ]
Post subject:  Suzanne Farrell's new Florida position

sorry i've been a bit slow with this one, seen at alt.arts.ballet - odd that we haven't received any press release, or seen any newspaper articles on this (yet..):<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>LEGENDARY BALLERINA SUZANNE FARRELL JOINS FSU DANCE DEPARTMENT (TALLAHASSEE), AS EPPES PROFESSOR<P>Suzanne Farrell, muse to the great George Balanchine and the embodiment of American ballet, will begin teaching Florida State University dance students this fall as a Francis Eppes Professor in the School of Visual Arts and Dance.<P>Known throughout the world as the mythic inspiration and inimitable performer of Balanchine's greatest ballets, Farrell has been a tireless teacher of the art form since retiring from the stage in 1989. - - -<BR> <BR>For Dean Jerry Draper, hiring Farrell couldn't be more significant for the future of the School of Visual Arts and Dance.<BR>"She's a thrilling performer with a unique and transcendent combination of technical,<BR> musical and dramatic gifts that have elevated her to a status all her own among classical dancers," said Draper.<P>Farrell joined the New York City Ballet in 1961, quickly moving beyond the distinction as Balanchine's most prominent ballerina to actually symbolize one of ballet's most exciting eras. <P>To her credit, she recreated such Balanchine masterpieces as "Apollo," "Concerto Barocco" and "Symphony in C." Inspired to new heights, Balanchine created new masterpieces just for Farrell - "Diamonds," "Chaconne" and "Mozartiana" - that set new standards of ballerina technique.<BR> - - -<P> For the past eight years, Farrell has led "Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell" an annual intensive ballet course for young dancers at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.<P>In 1999, Farrell's reputation as director was firmly established with the world premiere<BR>and 10-city tour of the Kennedy Center's Millennium Project, "Suzanne Farrell Stages the Masters of 20th Century Ballet." <P>"Suzanne Farrell is the pinnacle of classical artistry," said Libby Patenaude, chairwoman of the dance department. "This department has always believed in the mutual support of modern dance and ballet and we wanted to take<BR>advantage of the Eppes opportunity for our ballet program."<BR> <BR> The professorships are named for Francis Eppes, the grandson of President Thomas<BR>Jefferson who played a vital role in convincing the Florida Legislature to locate the Seminary West of the Suwannee, FSU's institutional predecessor, in Tallahassee.<BR> <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank>FSU Dance Dept. link</A> <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><p>[This message has been edited by grace (edited September 16, 2000).]

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat Sep 16, 2000 4:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Suzanne Farrell's new Florida position

I wonder if this means that we shall see a closer link between Suzanne Farrell and Miami City Ballet. Ms Farrell is much admired for her stagings of Balanchine ballets and her performances burn brightly in the memories of many ballet lovers. <P>Tuk I have a memory that you saw her dance. If so, can you, or anyone else, tell us what made her so special?<p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited September 16, 2000).]

Author:  shag [ Sat Sep 16, 2000 8:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Suzanne Farrell's new Florida position

Stuart<P>Tallahassee is as close to Miami as Liverpool to London. About a nine hour drive by car.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat Sep 16, 2000 9:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Suzanne Farrell's new Florida position

Thanks shag - I did fail O/L Geography twice.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat Sep 16, 2000 9:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Suzanne Farrell's new Florida position

Susanne Farrell's company gets a resounding thumbs up from Sarah Kaufman as it shares an evening with Miami and the Joffrey. This link appears in the Balnchine Festival thread as well.<BR> <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A> <BR>

Author:  Kevin Ng [ Sat Sep 16, 2000 5:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Suzanne Farrell's new Florida position

I am happy to hear of Farrell's new Florida position. But in a way I wish she could have been more involved with the New York City Ballet! She should be asked to give more stylistic coaching to the Balanchine ballets there which are in such a precarious state right now. I hope that the Balanchine heritage won't end up like the Bournonville heritage in Copenhagen.

Author:  grace [ Tue Sep 19, 2000 3:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Suzanne Farrell's new Florida position

NOT about the appointment, but rather a timely tangential comment on her abilities, in this review of the Balanchine Celebration:<BR> <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A>

Author:  grace [ Tue Sep 19, 2000 3:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Suzanne Farrell's new Florida position

Interview by Lewis Segal:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>As for Farrell, she still calls New York City her home but<BR> recently accepted a full-time professorship in the dance department<BR> at Florida State University in Tallahassee. There she'll be able to<BR> pass on what she calls "a wonderful heritage" as a dancer--and her<BR> almost mystical belief in the creative powers of Balanchine. - - -<P> "I have this little theory," she says with a smile. "People would<BR> like to debate me, I'm sure, but I believe the arts were invented<BR> because life didn't measure up to what it was supposed to be. If life<BR> were wonderful, life would be music, life would be dance, life<BR> would be beauty. But in our world, we have all kinds of plights and<BR> problems so we need something to remind us of who we are and<BR> what we would like to be." <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><BR> <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A>

Author:  Azlan [ Wed Sep 20, 2000 10:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Suzanne Farrell's new Florida position

And yet another article by Lewis Segal:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Moreover, after her performing career ended, she enhanced her reputation by staging his ballets for companies throughout the United States and Europe. However, forming a handpicked chamber ensemble of her own under Kennedy Center auspices has redefined her as a potential force in the ballet world at exactly the time when a leadership shortage has led a number of major international companies to appoint marginal or untested artistic directors.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><B><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank>The LA Times article</A></B>

Author:  trina [ Wed Sep 20, 2000 11:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Suzanne Farrell's new Florida position

Stuart,,,,I saw her dance many, many times with NYCB when I was a child and young adult...she is easily the most musical dancer I've ever seen. Her dancing looked totally spontaneous, almost like she was improvising all the time. Of course we know she wasn't but....! Now that I teach children quite a bit (dance) I recognize, that she kept and showed in performance, an almost totally childlike purity and love in her dancing..I know that sounds weird, but I can't think of any other way to describe it..there was no ego or "showiness" or narcissm, just total spontaneity. Plus her legs were about 10 feet long, which doesn't hurt either. she really defined a "Balanchine ballerina" to an entire generation (mine!). I recommend her autobiography "Dancing on the Air" or "Dancing on Air" or something close to that...very good and very intimate portrait of Balanchine as well.<p>[This message has been edited by trina (edited September 20, 2000).]

Author:  grace [ Wed Sep 20, 2000 3:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Suzanne Farrell's new Florida position

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Plus her legs were about 10 feet<BR> long, which doesn't hurt either.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>oh, yes - weren't they gorgeous!<P>trina -funny you should say about the childlike spontaneity, as i was just this minute thinking about that very issue - how my 2 year-old niece's natural spontaneous dance might be prserved in student dancers.<P>to see what movement to music comes out of an untutored making me wonder about the imposition of technique in my own classes, and whether there is ANY way that DOESN"T disconnect the two things.....might make a good topic for THE STUDIO!<P>have i made any sense to you here? maybe not a good explanation...but exactly what i was pondering when i sat down and read your post above...

Author:  Maggie [ Wed Sep 20, 2000 4:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Suzanne Farrell's new Florida position

That second paragraph is a little confusing, grace. Trina, I think Suzanne Farrell did improvise in Tzigane. I think one of the amazing things about her dancing, and one thing that Balanchine loved about it was her just off balance, or just a little to the left of absolute control, that gave her dancing that effect of abandon. She has always mesmerized me.

Author:  trina [ Thu Sep 21, 2000 10:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Suzanne Farrell's new Florida position

Yes maggie I knew that about Tzigane, but I was referring to ALL her dancing as a general style, rather than any specific instance. Grace, how about Creative Dance? Have you read anything or heard of Ann Green Gilbert? She is a pioneer in teaching creative dance, based here in Seattle with a school -Creative Dance Center and a company for kids "Kaleidescope"--they've performed worldwide (in Australia in '94 I believe!)....I recommend her book "Creative Dance for All Ages". Her whole philosophy is teaching dance according to creative concepts such as "space", "shapes", "levels" rather than teaching styles or steps...maybe I should start a separate category!!

Author:  grace [ Thu Sep 21, 2000 3:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Suzanne Farrell's new Florida position

maggie: sorry! i'll try again...<P>i have a 2 year old neice who i am in love with! as a teacher, it is also fascinating to observe how she (any human) learns....<P>i am surprised by how much (almost everything) is sheer mimicry - BUT, the only truly spontaneous untutored uncopied thing i see in her, is her natural dancing. when music is on, she naturally bops to it and adds an unpredictable range of new movement involving the whole body.<P>i had previously noticed with 6 to 10 year olds, how marvellous and refreshing their improvisation is - they are the best choreographers on the planet! but they become self-conscious after that, and it gets lost...<P>once ballet students are into the usual ballet classes - no matter how good the teacher - those innate qualities they were born with, are heavily submerged...there's nothing deliberate in this, it just happens..<P>so what i meant is, i was thinking about: how could those natural movement qualities and that free attitude ... 'any movement is good as long as it feels right'... be retained, at the same time that we teach, as with ballet for example, that just ANY movement is NOT necessarily 'good' at all!<P>a tough question, eh?<P>trina, i can see you've got my drift, but re this <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>teaching dance according to creative concepts such as "space", "shapes", "levels"<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> isn't that 'just' laban movement theories....

Author:  grace [ Thu Sep 21, 2000 3:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Suzanne Farrell's new Florida position

given the interesting turn this discussion has taken, i'm moving it to THE STUDIO - please pop down there, if you'd like to participate - tights and leotard required! Image thanks! Image

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