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Of all the great ballerinas, Tanaquil Le Clercq may have been the most transcendent. With a body unlike any before hers, she mesmerized viewers and choreographers alike - her elongated, race-horse physique became the new prototype for the great George Balanchine. Her unique style, humor and authenticity redefined ballet for all dancers who followed. Amazingly, she was the muse to not one great artist but two; both George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins loved her as a dancer and a woman. Balanchine married her and Robbins created his famous version of Afternoon of a Faun for Tanny. Tanaquil Le Clercq was the foremost dancer of her day until it suddenly all stopped. On a tour of Europe, she was struck down by polio and paralyzed. She never danced again. Written by
Director, Nancy Buirski
While part of me might have wanted more gossipy details at certain points in the film, overall this is a worthy tribute. Ms. Le Clerc was already in a wheelchair when I started going to the NYC Ballet, so I never got to see her dance. The archival videos of "Tanny" in this documentary are revelatory. And there are wonderful contributions from Jacques d'Amboise and Patricia McBride as talking heads. The film reinforces what I have felt for the past 40 years: that being alive during George Balanchine's (and Jerome Robbins's and Lincoln Kirstein's) life was akin to having Mozart across town. I had SEVEN subscriptions to NYCB in the 70's and 80's, and its repertoire and dancers have made my aesthetic what it is today.
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