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NYCB Vol. 4 No. 25 - Vienna Waltzes

In her autobiography Holding on to the Air, Suzanne Farrell remembered learning Vienna Waltzes in 1977: “I began my dance on center stage by acknowledging, curtsying to, and then embracing my partner—only there was no one there. I danced with this figment of my imagination for a while before Jean-Pierre briefly replaced the phantom and then vanished as quietly as he had appeared. […] It is a gorgeous, wistful dance of covered eyes, draped satin, deep backbends, and twirling ruffles, and it seems to take place on the precipice of a romantic tragedy.”

Twelve years later, after hip replacement surgery and being away from the stage for nearly two years, Suzanne made a dual come-back/farewell in Vienna Waltzes. Of her last performance with NYCB she recalled:

“There was, I’ve been told, a burst of applause when I appeared, my back to the audience. But I did not hear it. Suddenly, I was kneeling, bowing, dancing, and waltzing as the music enveloped me. Adam’s tender ministrations completed the sensation. I had never felt finer. […] I had finished what I started.”

(left) Suzanne in her farewell performance. Steven Caras, 1989

(right) Suzanne at her final curtain call with Lincoln Kirstein. Steven Caras, 1989.

PBS Live performance, 1983 via John Clifford’s YouTube

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