(Suzanne Farrell, Jacques d'Amboise, and George Balanchine
rehearsing Movements For Piano and Orchestra, 1958; photo by Martha Swope)
Another gem on the 6/12/11 Balanchine bill was Movements for Piano and Orchestra. This piece is significant because it was the breakthrough performance for the legendary Suzanne Farrell. Balanchine had a vision for his then muse, Diana Adams, to dance in this particular work. Instead, Adams got pregnant and Balanchine took it as a personal affront, which I find hilarious. In the must-see documentary Suzanne Farrell: Elusive Muse, former stage partner Jacques d'Amboise claims Balanchine said, 'She [Adams] stabbed me in the back!' Instead, it was suggested that Farrell, a relatively unknown peon in the company, take over Adams' role. While at first apathetic towards the idea, Balanchine was blown away by her performance, and the artistic alchemy that followed gave birth to ballet's "It" girl.