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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
One of the opening scenes of this movie shows Tanaquil dancing with Jacques d'Amboise. This really captured the essence of the film for me. Graceful effortless dancing, with emotional depth in an unusual and creative setting. Thus we are led into the story of Tanaquil Le Clercq, her upbringing in Paris and New York, disappearance of her father and with a strong mother.
Enter a genius father/mentor figure in George Balanchine and the future unfolds. The story is told with original photos and film footage. Personal interviews with Tanaquil's collaborators and close friends give us a 360deg picture of her development. Jacques d'Amboise, Jerome Robbins, Arthur Mitchell, Barbara Horgan and Patricia McBride gives us the inside information on an artist that embraced her craft and inspired others.
We are informed of the inspiring but difficult relationship with Balanchine. One interview with Balanchine might be of interest to Canadians. The interviewer was a reporter with the CBC (smoking his trademark cigarette) who went on to be the first separatist premier of Quebec - Rene Levesque! When Tanaquil comes down with polio, it is a bitter pill, considering her earlier performance at a polio benefit. This really heightens the sense of tragedy that seems to go part and parcel with great artistic achievement. However, she was not defeated and continued to lead a meaningful and vibrant life.
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