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February 7, 2023 47 mins

PART FOUR - "Balanchine was so fond of perfume that leaves the scent of that dancer behind, and it still permeates."

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Speaker 1 (00:03):
Ballet in Balanchine's company was all about the female, the
idealized female, and putting her on a pedestal. And one
of the aspects of being a balancing dancer was to
have your own perfume that was nobody else's perfume. Balancing

(00:26):
was so fond of perfume that leaves the scent of
that dancer behind. So it's as if the dancers have
a physiological energetic center, pulse or resonance or field that

(00:48):
is absolutely indelible, and nobody else has it. It's their
own fingerprint. So we each had to have our own,
and we doused ourselves, and we're speaking at about bathing perfume.

(01:08):
We were supposed to leave our scent behind so that
he would know who was there before him. Why. It
was just part of the culture, the same as people
dressing up for class. They would just make up to
the hill to the just so chavon skart, perfect, clean
shoes and hair dumb and their own smells, all looking good,

(01:33):
smelling good, all the volition in place, all the the
readiness of being chosen. Selected from My Heart Podcasts and

(01:55):
Rococo Punch, This is the turning room of Mirrors America.
Lands Part four, The Muses, The dancers and Balancin's company

(02:20):
wanted to present themselves well. They wanted to please Balancine,
catch his eye. They knew he was watching all the
time in that studio without windows and from the heavy
curtains of the theater's wings. By this point, Stephanie so
Land was an insider. She'd been in the company for
a while and had navigated the culture and ethics of

(02:41):
Balancine's world. We rarely got any guests from outside, but
Balancine actually really did a favor of few people who
came in, and one was Helmsmar from Paris Opera. Glentismar
was a star ballerina. She danced all over the world,
and even though she wasn't trained by balancing, she came

(03:01):
to guest dance with the company. Years later, I went
to visit Guillne in Paris in her apartment and we
had a conversation about her experience. And here's this person
who was an eighth twelve at Paris Opera. She's a
very very gracious woman, and we sat in her most
wonderful apartment. She said, you know, the first time I

(03:22):
went in, I've just never seen anything like it. It It
was like a harim, like a harem, Yes, and we
were so accustomed to it. But everybody in that room
was just waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting to be the one
in the concubines are alum, waiting to be the one

(03:45):
for balancing. Essentially, Yes, in his early years, certainly he
did either mary or was with six of his ballerinas.
And I say his ballerinas. They really were part of
his life, and each of them quite different than the
stories around that, quite different, and there are many, many

(04:06):
stories to tell. This was a time when there really
were no clear boundaries, and the desire to please and
the confusion around that with young women definitely was interwoven
into that. I wanted to ask you about Apollo. M hmm.

(04:26):
Could we talk about Apollo a little bit? We can?
I watched video of you dancing it recently, and um,
maybe could you describe that ballet? Oh dear, that takes
a few hours. I can't even begin to speak to

(04:51):
Apollo with anything that would give it its due. Honestly,
it is so rich and so ahead of its time.
Time he was beginning to show us how time and
space and bodies and mind and music could be sculpted
and merged. Apollo is Balancing's first major collaboration with the

(05:23):
composer Igor Stravinsky. It was the start of what would
be dozens of projects they partner on, and it launched
Balancing into international fame when he was just twenty four.
The ballet follows young Apollo, the Greek god of music,
as he has visited and instructed by three muses, the
Music Poetry, the Muse of Mine, and the Muse of

(05:46):
Dance and Song. At first, Apollo doesn't seem to know
what he's doing. He's like a shaky cult or a
young deer that isn't quite on its legs yet. And
then you see him find his ground. You watch him

(06:08):
become an artist and a god. During the ballet, each
muse dances for Apollo. They teach him, they inspire him.
At times, it's hard to tell who's in power. They're
all learning from each other. When Stephanie danced it, she

(06:31):
played the Muse of Poetry Calliope. She's the first of
the muses to dance for Apollo, and as she dances
for him, her body suddenly caves in on itself, as
if an emotional or physical pain. Each time you hear
the cellos make a sudden, low sound. Then she reaches
out while holding one hand to her heart, as if

(06:52):
she's finally expressing what's within. Her mouth opens as if
to speak this taking from the gout from the core,
from the soul, through the throat, through the mouth, and
out into the world. It is again, I think, in
that way that is so Hallmark Balanchine about the importance

(07:13):
of women in a man's life. Only now, of course,
the women are muses and goddess creatures un mountained olympus,
and that they are going to teach this young god
all that he needs to learn. They are the mentors,

(07:35):
the guides, the muses. Beyond the basic story, the ballet
itself is beautiful. The movements feel classical yet totally modern.
At times, Apollo holds all three of them muses hands
and leads them or move them around in a chain,
tangling them with each other in this abstractly shaped not

(07:56):
It's interesting to watch how the power shifts throughout who
is leading who was learning. Apollo controls and manipulates them uses.
Other times it seems he struggles to contain them, struggles
to keep up. Ultimately, Apollo takes his place as a god.
Armed with the knowledge of the muses, He's now powerful

(08:18):
over them. It is his deep bow to the idealized
female and their role in shaping the world, and shaping
that world which is otherworldly and owed to his muses.

(08:39):
Over the years, Balancine would have many when he became
very interested in someone. They might have been sixteen or seventeen.
They had certain exquisite gifts like maybe an exquisite Arabesque
or jumping, or maybe turning, or the way the arm

(08:59):
the upper body worked together. Lin Garafola is a dance
historian who lives in New York. She saw many balancing
ballets during the dance boom in the seventies. When balancing
was inspired by a dancer, he'd choreographed dances on her,
as they call it, and not just teach her the steps,
but really danced through it with her in a way

(09:20):
that felt special, and in many cases he'd fall in
love with her. I think for balancing, working with someone
and dancing with someone was perhaps the only way in
which he could create a really close relationship. Balancing was
totally absorbed in the art form, and he asked the

(09:41):
same of his dancers to fully surrender to the art
form and to his vision. Holly Howard was one dancer
Balancing was drawn to early on in the nineties. She
danced the role of a muse in the first performance
of Apollo in the United States. Holly Howard a wonderful

(10:07):
American dancer. She was arguably balancings first American muse, like
the first American dancer that he became really obsessed with,
and that really drove his art. Jim Styke in researched
Balancing's early career. He scoured the diaries of Lincoln Kristine,

(10:29):
the man who invited Balancing to the US to start
his work. The diaries gave Jim a window into the
dynamics of those early years in the United States. Balancing
took a romantic interest in Holly Howard, and they were
kind of a couple. You know, everyone's super young, and
at one point they were touring the East Coast on

(10:50):
the bus Balancing sad with Holly his current news. When
they were in Princeton, Holly Howard, after their show, decided
to go out with some of Princeton men, and the
next day, when they're getting back on the tour bus,
Balancing and sitting next to a different dancer and says, well,
you know, you decided to go up to the Princeton

(11:12):
Boys so you can sit next to someone else. So
there's that classic manipulation power move. We don't really need
to know too many of the details to know that
there's some games being played and some power dynamics that play.
Because even though they had a relationship, Balancing was still

(11:35):
Holly's boss. The other chilling tidbit in Christian's Diaries makes
reference to one day that Holly Howard had had her
fourth abortion by balanching. It's hard to know what that
really means, but you can read between the lines and

(11:56):
think about what was happening when you say read between
the lines, like, how do you read between the lines there?
So clearly they're sleeping together. When you say use the
phrase fourth abortion by balancing, does that imply essentially the
fourth termination of a pregnancy that like Balancing is the father.
That's my understanding. You know, we know for a fact

(12:19):
that Balancing didn't want his dancers, especially as start answers,
to get pregnant and have children, So it's you know,
do we have any idea how consensual their relationship was.
Do we have any idea how consensual those decisions determinate were?
Do we have any idea what Holly Howard went through

(12:41):
to go through those procedures while still dancing at a
very high level. You know, that's where you realize that
the cult makes him into this entirely benevolent figure. When
Jim says cult, he thinks there's almost a cult around balancing.
He also calls it the Church of Balancing, fervent admirers

(13:03):
who don't want anything bad said about him, writers, critics,
and dancers who would rather sweep unflattering stories under the
rug or minimize those stories effects. You know, we will
probably never know the full story. But she this is
kind of the heart of her career. She kind of
fades away after this. These relationships often faded away eventually,

(13:28):
lind says he'd always move on. Well, this is a
little bit like the Six Wives of Henry the Eighth,
Not quite, but a little bit like that. Balancine married
or partnered with a number of these dancers, five to
be exact tomorrow, Alexandra Vera, Maria, and Tanna Hill. But

(13:51):
even beyond those marriages, he developed other romantic relationships which
always seem to be intertwined with his work in some way.
Some of these relationships ended because the ballerina's career has
led them elsewhere, to cabarets or to Hollywood, But more
commonly the relationships ended for a different reason. I think
there's a sense in his work that the ballerina, the

(14:13):
woman who for a certain moment is ideal, is never
fully attainable, or perhaps once she appears to be attained,
and then perhaps he loses interest and moves on to
something else, to someone else, she's no longer ideal. Through

(14:52):
Balancine's twenties, his thirties, and his forties, his pattern of
having relationships with his dancers persisted. Sometimes he was decade
is older than his romantic counterpart. His company grew, He
had more and more talented dancers coming into their own
and inspiring his choreography. In nineteen fifty four, he was
fifty years old, and he sees this talent around and

(15:18):
he's making ballets for them all. And then there's Electric Kent.
It's a very young Electric Kent. This is Siren City.
The traffic doesn't stop for sirence, and it's a free

(15:39):
for all. Um my name is Allegra Kent. I was
born in August eleven, ninety seven, on the same day
that Edith Wharton died turning producer Alan Lance Lesser, and

(15:59):
I met Allegric Kent in her studio apartment in New York,
walking in felt special. Allegra Kent was one of those
musices who stood out. She was somebody balancing bent the
norms for I've known who she was since I was
a kid. I read one of the books she wrote
cover to cover many times in middle school. She was
my idea of the perfect ballerina. It's hard to think

(16:22):
of a more iconic dancer than Alegra Kent. Your wall
is just covered in dwellers, most of its career pictures,
but uneating more children and grandchildren. Alecra's fingers are thin
and wrinkled. She gestures to the photos on the wall
and slow circular motions. They're mostly of Allegra, gorgeous and moody,

(16:44):
black and white images of her in the most beautiful
poses mid dance. So over here seven deadly sins. There
are shots of her backstage, one of her balancing on
points that had been in Vogue magazine. This is Russia
six too, my name is over there a poster in
Russian with her name on it, and then balancing and

(17:06):
Allegra both squatting midmotion. They're dancing together, side by side.
Next to it is a photo of the two of
them on stage in front of the curtain. She holds
a bouquet of flowers about with Balanchee Sarenad Japan. Scattered
among all this are these blue and black images. They

(17:29):
look like ink blots, raw shock tests. When we get
closer we realize their dark limbs in bright blue water.
Their photos of Allegra doing exercises in a pool. She
used to put flotation devices on her arms and legs
and move in the water, pushing air down in the water.

(17:49):
It was easy to go up, but hard to go down.
It was like contrary to gravity. I have a certain
contrariness in my nature. In these pictures in the pool,

(18:11):
her body reflected itself, cut in half, the pool became
a mirror. You can't see her torso or her face,
just legs and arms reflected back. Surreal symmetry. Part of
her is always hidden. What do you think was your
favorite ballet to dance? That is very hard to say.

(18:36):
He's like asking what your favorite child is or something,
or your favorite flower. Because then I think, oh, all
the flowers that start with A, those are all my favorite,
all the ones that start with B yes, all the
ones that start with P yes, all the ones that
start with W. So I could throw out an answer,

(18:59):
but I I wound. Throughout our interview, Allegra's thoughts felt
watery and mysterious and hard to pin down. She often
left our questions unanswered. Allegra was born in Santa Monica, California,
to two Jewish parents. They divorced while she was still young.

(19:19):
In California, for a while, everyone changed their religion once
a week, but my mother decided that we should be
Christian scientists. According to Christian science, there's no pain. It's
very complicated. The Christian scientists around her believed the physical

(19:42):
body had no substance, that pain and pleasure weren't real,
and a Lira took that seriously. When she danced, she
told herself the pain wasn't real and kept dancing. In
this religious household, Allegra learned to obey authority, and she
learned to keep unpleasant feelings hidden with ballet. Even as

(20:04):
a kid, she realized she had found a way to
express herself without revealing her thoughts. Dance was how she
fought with her mother. Dance could bypass words. That's something
balancing would understand. He was known for speaking through movement.
For the rest of a Likra's life, she'd feel that
displaying emotions made her vulnerable, so she didn't. She held

(20:27):
them secret, and that's what made dance special. When a
Laker was fourteen, she and her mother moved to New
York so a Legra could pursue dance. She auditioned for
a scholarship at the School of American Ballet. Her mother
did the talking. They brought a letter of introduction from

(20:49):
her previous ballet teacher, who wrote a Likra's dancing was demonic.
Balancine observed part of a ballet class to a val
You wait her, she says. Even at the time, she
knew this was a metaphysically all or nothing moment. She
had the feeling if balancing rejected her, she'd have some

(21:09):
kind of breakdown. As a Legra danced, she mirrored his
face with her own, almost involuntarily. His face gave nothing away,
and neither did hers. She wouldn't let him see how
important she knew the passing moments were, or how eager
she was to get a scholarship. After four short minutes,

(21:33):
he left. It was all he needed. She got the scholarship.
A year later, she was invited to be an apprentice
in the company. Soon she took her first ballet classes
from balancing himself from Mr b. He liked the way
I danced, he liked the way I moved. One day

(21:55):
during class, Balancing said to her, you can do anything.
They yeah, I was a little different the way I
approached things, in the way the way I heard the music.
So yes, but the music came first. Of course, Allegra

(22:22):
understood Balanci's philosophy. The music came first, and the way
he talked about it felt almost magical. One evening performance,
we were doing a Mozart ballet in Saltzburg, and he said,
last night I spoke to Mozart and he he started

(22:46):
talking about this experience. I wish I had written it
down because Aty was speaking. One moment I was crying
and the next moment I was laughing because it was
so glorious, was so moving it was, And actually I
think he did you think he? I think he communicated

(23:10):
with the greatness of the past. Could you tell us
about Balancin's relationships with his dancers. He fell in love
with a number of his dancers, He married some of
his dancers, and I think that as far as that
was the early years, and then his life became much
more complicated, and it's so complicated I can't talk about.

(23:34):
But she would write about some of it in her autobiography,
and things certainly would become complicated. Alegh writes she noticed
a pattern and Balancing's love affairs. There was a time
limit around seven years. Balancing got older, the women stayed
the same age, usually between fifteen and twenty three. A

(23:55):
leg Where wrote, as an apprentice, a Logo found herself
in classes with dancers she admired, including some of Balantiein's
former and future wives, who danced side by side. When
a Laker was an apprentice, tannekill Leclair was on the rise. Tanny,
she was called. She was eight years older than Allegra

(24:15):
and looked like modern art. Allegra says one day Tanny
came in with a bandage on her nose. Apparently she
had kicked so high to the front during a grand
batma exercise that she need herself in the face. Allegra
was impressed. Allegra's mother and the other mothers talked about
balancing constantly, and that included his romantic pursuits. They became experts.

(24:38):
They said, Tanny had caught Balantiein's eye when she was
eleven years old. Later, when they went on tour, Tanny
and her mother stayed in a suite with Mr. B.
In nineteen fifty two, Balancien married Tanaquielle. She was twenty
three and he was forty eight. He'd found his new
mus Allegra's mother didn't like this pattern of women, Allegra

(25:00):
rights in her autobiography. In my mother's mind, there was
only one type of pain that could be truly serious,
and that would occur if Balanchine got me. Nothing was
as terrible as his making me another Lolita in his
ballerina gallery m hm In Allegra was still an apprentice,

(25:24):
and then she got the news I was invited into
the company. I was fifty. She said, yes, what would
you say were some of the like pivotal moments or
turning points as a dancer? Definitely the unanswered question that
launched you as a star. That was the first peace

(25:47):
Balentine did for me. The first ballet. I was seventeen,
Balanchine was fifty. Allegra had been in the company two years,
dancing in the core. This rehearsal was different, just her
and four men balancing. Told the leger to take her
point shoes off. She would do this piece barefoot, but

(26:10):
her feet would never touch the floor. Balancing had her
climb on top of the ballet bar. He placed the
four men in front of her, and then he said, now, Allegra,
step on the men's shoulders. The men gripped her ankles
and she stepped up. Eventually, on stage, the men would

(26:32):
wear all black. Their costumes dissolved them into the dark backdrop.
I'm wearing all white leotard. Nothing ill tearried down. The
piece was called The Unanswered Question. It began with one man,
bear skinned, the only one not in black, backing onto
the stage looking up. A man comes out, searching, seeking

(27:00):
mine too feel the truth of what this images. And
a woman is being held totally upright and progressing slowly
while the visible man reaches for her. The men in
black carry her forward. She's loading above them all standing

(27:22):
then sitting in mid air, then dipping backwards into somersault,
threaded through the men's legs and looked back up in
a slow motion dive. It's like watching someone's wim in
a watery black void. And the bear skin man the
seeker reaches for her. Is she an image? She on
the unobtainable, She is everything, but he can't. She's out

(27:48):
of reach, and at one point she sort of curls
into his arm, but immediately the men take her away
and she's threaded in. At one point she's held on
high and I slowly tilted backwards and fell fell straight

(28:13):
back from standing on their shoulders. You could hear the
terror from the audience. It sounded like a gas. Of course,
the men caught me as I did every time, but
I realized that bouncing love to create fear, dramatic fear

(28:34):
and the audience, and that was definitely one of those moments.
And then the ballet progresses. I'm threaded through their legs,
I'm hauled around like rope around their waist. I'm held
on high and I do at arabisk and and then

(28:58):
I at leave. I'm taking way, and the man the
seeker is still following me, But this time he's him back,
He's not in front. She has moved past him, and
I'm man obtainable. It was the beginning of her life

(29:23):
as a balancing news During rehearsals of The Unanswered Question,
Allegro felt Balancing was in love with her. The question
hung there. What did Mr Be ultimately want from her?
She thinks at that point, neither of them knew what
was your relationship with balancing? Like he Corey graphed, he

(29:47):
chose me. I danced and very warm, not personal, very warm.
He asked how I was, and things like out. Allegra
and Mr B's connection felt close and unspoken. It would
never turn romantic. And the Unanswered Question, Allegra says she

(30:10):
was a sensual, spiritual object sought by a man who
could never possess her, the object of a quest, but
she eludes the man. The mystery is never solved, the
question never answered. That's the dynamic of all the roles

(30:47):
balance she would make for her. She writes, a suppressed
in her life and unanswered questions. Yeah, everyone knew Balancing

(31:27):
thought his dancers shouldn't have children. He say to them,
anyone can be a mother, but how many could be
a ballerina. How many could dance Balancin's choreography. But a
lager got married, she had a baby, despite Balancine's wishes.
I did what I wanted to do. That was part
of my nature. Allegra speaks highly of balancing. She doesn't

(31:53):
seem to want to get into the nitty gritty of
relationships or company dynamics, but in her autobiography, Allegra writes
that leaving the company for any reason was a dangerous thing.
Balancine might not want you back. Disloyalty hurt him. He
expected allegiance. Allegra writes that although he didn't overtly encourage

(32:14):
awe or worship, in a subtle way, he used the
idolatry of the dancers to keep the company together. I
think the first baby balance she thought was an accident,
But the second one he thought. Wait a minute. When
Allegra came back from childbirth the second time, she writes
that he told her in a serious tone, now, Allegra,

(32:37):
no more babies. Enough is enough. Babies are for Puerto Ricans.
I don't know if this was a racist joke or
a racist attempts to rain a liegra in. Either way,
she thought, this man directs the company, not my life.
But he welcome me back into the company, and he

(32:59):
always will be back. So what she didn't realize yet
was that she'd never be back, not really well. She
was having a baby. Balancing had turned to someone new,
someone young, someone who would become his most famous muse
of all time, a fifteen year old girl named Suzanne Farrell.

(33:22):
Balancing and Suzanne Farrell were joined at the hip. This
couple this you know, you know. You could call it
an artistic power couple. You could call it, hey, you know,
mus artist. There's obsession in both directions. I think Susanne
is probably Balancing's most iconic dancer and his most complicated relationship.

(33:46):
She declined to speak with us for this podcast, but
she did write a memoir about this time. Early on,
when she was at the School of American Ballet, it
was clear that Balancing was drawn to her. She had
physical quality because he was looking for a natural musicality
and a willingness to try anything he asked. Balancine choreographed

(34:07):
to the first ballet specifically for Susanne when she was eighteen.
It was a potted du between a young girl and
an older man, she realized it was about the two
of them. Later, she would write, it did not occur

(34:28):
to me that I was entering into an emotional abyss
so deep that perhaps I should decide if I thought
it might be worth it it was worth it. But
I never once stopped to consider that question. In retrospect,
I realized that the fact that I had no outside
points of reference meant that I made various important decisions
in a social vacuum. Balancie and Susanne worked closely in

(34:55):
the studio, like creative conspirators, and that trickled outside theater.
On tour in Europe, they spent every evening together at
museums or shops, or walking arm in arm. Soon Balancing
became Suzanne's whole life. Knowing Balancine's jealousy, Susanne felt she
couldn't really have other friends, and she didn't mind. Even

(35:22):
though Balancing was forty one years older than Suzanne. There
was this romantic undercurrent that was clear to everyone. When
she was twenty two and he was sixty three, a
newspaper even falsely reported that they were engaged, and Susanne
felt that undercurrent herself. In her book, she writes quote
it was for him that I felt the first stirrings

(35:43):
of adult love, and he was, without doubt the most
important man in my life. But she knew Balancing was
still married to Tanny, that he was living two separate lives,
one of which he didn't discuss with Susanne. So when
an audience member began taking special noice of her, she
began a new relationship. His name was Roger. He was

(36:04):
a couple of months older than her, and when they
got engaged, he gave her a pearl ring. Suzanne knew
not to wear the ring to the theater, but one
day Balanchin saw it on her finger. He exploded. He
ordered her to take it off. His anger frightened her.

(36:25):
She obeyed and ended her relationship with Roger. In the end,
she said it was not her decision, it was Balanchin's.
A week later, Balancing came to Suzanne's hotel room on tour.
He presented her with his own ring. She writes that

(36:45):
when she turned it down, he hurled it across the room.
In fear, she dropped to her knees, clambered for the
ring under the bed, and put it on her finger.
She says, quote it was never quite clear whether or
not the ring was intended to symbolize our present or
future union in marriage, but I think at least to him,
it signified an exclusive attachment. To me, it signified love

(37:11):
and all its ghoshness, desperation and beauty. Dancers at the
company knew that Suzanne Farrell was off limits romantically, that
you belonged to Balancing, But eventually Suzanne did start to
date someone else again, a fellow dancer in the company,
Paul Mahea. They kept it secret, but they couldn't hide

(37:33):
it entirely. When Balancine realized Susanne and Paul were in
a relationship, he did something Susanne did not expect this time.
He asked her to marry him. But Suzanne couldn't give
Balancing what he wanted. Jean Paul quietly married, and that's
when things unraveled. Balancing avoided, Suzanne and Paul started losing roles. Finally,

(37:59):
one day, Suzanne confronted Balancing. She would later call that
day the most a real day of her life. She
sent Balancing a note stop the retaliation, or she and
Paul would leave the company, not that she thought it
would go that far, but Balancing was still her boss.
That night, the Russian wardrobe manager entered the dressing room

(38:20):
and slipped Suzanne's two two off its hanger. She was crying, Susanne,
you're not dancing tonight, she said. At age, Susanne realized
her world was ending. She was no longer a member
of the New York City Ballet. And you know, you

(38:43):
can imagine someone that young, who had built their entire
life and identity around one artist run on a company
and balancing at that time was such a powerful figure.
No other company in America would be able to hire
Susanne Ferrell to dance, even though she was one of
the pre eminent dancers of her generation, for fear of

(39:06):
incurring the ire of balancing. Balanchine was so fond of
perfumes that leaves the scent of that dancer behind, and
it's still permeates. Teenage Stephanie's a Land joined the company

(39:28):
a couple of years after Suzanne had been forced out.
The muse was still in the air, her presence lingered.
My parents got me as my graduation present, my grief
a bottle of perfume, and I remember just bathing in

(39:48):
the scent. And at the time Suzanne Farrell had gone
away from the company, and I got into the elevator,
I believe, with Balanciine and carn vent Ding. Karen was
another famous dancer at the company. When Stephanie stepped into
the elevator, she says she saw something change on Mr

(40:09):
B's face, a little bit of a look of displeasure
or surprise or or unease, and Karen just looked at
me sideways and kind of cringed, and I didn't know why. Afterwards,
Mr B got out and she let me know that
the perfume was definitely to be discarded. It had been

(40:32):
Suzanne's perfume. Years later, Suzanne Farrell would eventually return to
balancing in his company, finally forgiven. They continued to work
together for years until Balancing's death. Suzanne Farrell's story is
one of ballet legend, now a piece of balancing history
that lingers in the air, and not everyone sees eye

(40:55):
to eye on it. Historian Jim Styken is someone who's
been publicly critical of how Balanche treated Susanne. She's never
denounced him for the way that he treated her, but
you know, it was really shocking the way that she
was treated, and it's hard not to think about it
in terms of like a you know, blacklisting of like
someone who spurs your romantic overtures, who chooses another man

(41:19):
over you, and then you are going to punish that
woman professionally and ensure that her livelihood is endangered and
that she can't have autonomy over her own career and life.
So it's, um, it's a really tricky case. A lot
of people have criticized me for kind of parsing it

(41:40):
out and writing about it. I don't know how you
can call that anything but a misogynistic, abusive power and
something that you know, even if she won't denounce him,
it's like the actions kind of speak for themselves. This

(42:11):
is what Suzanne Farrell wrote in her memoir. Quote that
Balancie spent his life building pedestals for his ballerinas to
stand on is no secret, and although some might protest
the position as one of inequality, no one who has
ever been there has ever complained it is the most
humbling and beautiful place I've ever been. Balancine was a

(42:32):
feminist long before it was the fashion. He devoted his
life to celebrating female independence. End quote Suzanne Holly Taniquiel
Alegra Stephanie. They all performed Balancie's ballet Apollo. They all

(42:55):
played the roles of Apollo's muses on stage. Apollo is
such a beautiful ballet. I can't help but love it.
But something about it bothers me too. As much as
the muses have their moments, you know that Apollo is
the center. The muses are important, but they're important because
of what they do for him. Apollo is the god.

(43:17):
He is in control. Apollo, or Balancing, keeps the muse
on her pedestal right where he can always see her.
Balancing has many famous quotations, but maybe the most famous

(43:39):
is that he loved to say Ballet is woman. People
often quote Ballet as a woman as a sign of
his reverence for the female body and the role of
women in his art. It's a phrase you hear all
the time. What does it really mean? How feminist is
the phrase ballet is one? And this is the rest

(44:02):
of what Balanchine had to say. Quote. Man is a
better cook, a better painter, a better musician, composer. Everything
is man, sports, everything. Man is stronger, faster. Why because
we have muscles and were made that way. And woman
accepts this it is her business to accept. She knows

(44:24):
what's beautiful. Men are great poets because they have to
write beautiful poetry for women. Odes to a beautiful woman.
Woman accepts the beautiful poetry. You see. Man is the servant,
a good servant. In ballet, however, woman is first. Everywhere
else man is first, but in ballet, it's the woman.

(44:48):
All my life. I've dedicated my art to her. Next

(45:21):
time on The Turning Gone unchecked. Bad things can happen,
and they did, and then people are scared. You know,
people are still afraid to talk. The Turning is a

(45:46):
production of Rococo Punch and I Heeart Podcasts. It's written
and produced by Allen Lance Lesser and Me. Our story
editor is Emily Foreman. Mixing and sound designed by James Trout.
Jessica Carissa as our assistant producer. Andrea Swage is our
digital producer. Fact checking by Andrea Lopez Crusado. Special links

(46:09):
to a leg or Kent if you want to check
it out. Her autobiography is called Once a Dancer. Also
to Susanne Farrell and Tony Bentley, who wrote the memoir
Holding Onto the Air, and Jim Stiken, whose book is
called Balancine and Kirstine's American Enterprise. Our executive producers are

(46:29):
John Parotti and Jessica Alpert at Rococo Punch and I
Get Trina Norvelle and Nikki Etre at iHeart Podcasts. For
photos and more details on the series, follow us on
Instagram at Rococo Punch, and you can reach out via
email The Turning at Rococo punch dot com. I'm Erica Lance.

(47:00):
Thanks for listening. M
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