End of an Era

Nov 19, 2014


Major News in the Ballet World Major News in the Ballet World
Paloma Herrera in ABT's Giselle. Photo by Tim Rummelhoff.

With a ballet legend like Suzanne Farrell coming to Northrop, it’s hard not to get excited! Growing up as a bunhead myself and studying at a Balanchine-focused ballet school, I have always idolized Suzanne Farrell. She was Balanchine’s muse, and after a 28-year-long performance career (unusually long for a professional ballerina), she has certainly earned her title as a ballet legend.

But The Suzanne Farrell Ballet coming to Northrop is not the only major news in the ballet world today. Two ballet legends are retiring this year after extraordinary performance careers. Paloma Herrera, principal dancer for American Ballet Theatre, and Wendy Whelan, principal dancer for New York City Ballet, will be taking their final bows this season.

Paloma Herrera will be stepping down after a 23 year-long career with American Ballet Theatre, 19 of which were served as a principal dancer. We at Northrop were lucky enough to see her perform Giselle at our Grand Reopening event this past spring. (I even had the honor of presenting her flowers at the end of her stunning performance. To say I was star struck is certainly an understatement!)

Wendy Whelan recently took her final bow after performing with the New York City Ballet, Balanchine’s company, for an incredible 30 years. Her final show was this past October, and her performance of After the Rain was met with five curtain calls. 

These two retirement announcements have truly shaken up the ballet world and will definitely mark the end of an era. It certainly goes to show the importance of seeing ballet whenever and wherever you can, before legends like Whelan and Herrera take their final bow.

So, my advice to you is to come check out The Suzanne Farrell Ballet on Thu, Dec 4 at 7:30 pm. Suzanne Farrell herself will be participating in the Performance Preview that starts at 6:15 pm in the Best Buy Theater. Don’t miss the chance to see this incredible, world-renowned ballet company and meet the legend herself.

And with that, I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the lovely Wendy Whelan:

Dance alone, has held purpose for me; it’s been my silent partner all these years – my guardian angel. We communicate each day and like every relationship, sometimes struggle to understand each other. Dancing has worked me to the extremes of exhaustion and exhilaration. It has given me anxiety and soothed me from it. It has nursed me through heartache. Dance has asked me to define my individuality and ultimately to redefine my own notions of beauty. It has made me aware of my ego and the complexities of having one. Dance has shown me the beauty of humility. It has helped me develop a capacity for awareness – to find beauty in so many fleeting moments. To be a dancer is to work within an art form that lives and dies in nearly the same instant and, in this sense, offers powerful lessons in mortality.” – Wendy Whelan



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