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Suzanne Farrell: Elusive Muse

Original title
Suzanne Farrell: Elusive Muse
Running time
90 min.
United States United States
Don Lenzer
Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)
Synopsis / Plot
Romantic triangles. Unconsummated passion. Jealousy. Revenge. Just another day offstage at the New York City Ballet for ballerina Suzanne Farrell and her mentor, legendary choreographer George Balanchine. Elusive Muse traces the development of Farrell into an extraordinary performer while trying to define her passionate professional and personal relationship with "Mr. B." (Farrell says dancing with Balanchine was "more passionate, more loving" than a sexual relationship would have been.) Relying heavily on interviews with Farrell and her longtime dance partner, Jacques d'Amboise (who calls her a "goddess" and the "last, great muse for Balanchine"), the film follows her evolution from awestruck student to inspiration--Balanchine created some of his most breathtaking ballets for her, and lengthy footage of them, including "Diamonds" and "Mozartiana," is shown. The story is as tortured as ballet's best: Marriage to another dancer causes their banishment from the company and she's forced to dance in Europe to keep her career alive, but she triumphantly reunites (professionally) with her mentor. While performance footage documents her artistry, interviews with other dancers and choreographers testify to her growing talent and help explain how Mr. B worked. "God sent her to me," he is quoted as saying. Here, the rest of us get to glory in his handiwork.
1996: Nominated for Oscar: Best Documentary
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