, 1945-, American ballet dancer, b. Cincinnati, Ohio, as Roberta Sue Ficker. After studying in her hometown and at the School of American Ballet, she joined the New York City Ballet
, recognizing the emotional depth of her performances, created several roles for her in Movements for Piano and Orchestra, Meditation
(1963), and Don Quixote
(1965). From 1970 to 1974 she was a member of Béjart
's Ballet of the 20th Century. In 1974 she returned to the New York City Ballet, where she resumed her role as Balanchine's muse and danced in many of his works including Schumann's Davidsbundlertanze
as well as in Jerome Robbins
's Concerto in G
and others. Farrell became a teacher at the company after her retirement in 1989. Her strained relations with City Ballet's director, her former partner Peter Martins
, ultimately ended in her dismissal in 1993. Since then she has taught Balanchine's ballets, technique, and philosophy to dance companies throughout the world. In 1999, Farrell formed a chamber troupe with the backing of the Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C., and she and her company have toured.
See her autobiography (1991).
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