Fifty-Four Years Ago

New York City Ballet in Amsterdam Suzanne Farrell. 25th August 1965.

Here’s a picture of “baby ballerina” Suzanne Farrell of New York City Ballet, mid-pirouette while on tour in Amsterdam fifty-four years ago. 25th August 1965.

Farrell’s autobiography is Holding On to the Air.

On this day: a choreographer and his muse.

This is the edition of LIFE Magazine for the 23rd of August, 1965.

The cover features choreographer George Balanchine, who was born into a Georgian family in Saint Petersburg before moving to the United States and becoming the so-called “father of American ballet”.

With him is Suzanne Farrell, a young ballerina who was arguably the most famous of his “muses”. She had just turned twenty when this magazine came out.

They are in costume for the roles of Don Quixote and his “ideal woman” Dulcinea in Balanchine’s version of Don Quixote for New York City Ballet. This version is unrelated to the world-famous production that is regularly performed today. However, the version starring Farrell became a signature piece and showcase for both her as a ballerina, and for her famous Balanchine technique.

LIFE INTERNATIONAL cover 08-23-1965 Choreographer George