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Lindsay Almond Jr.,
Edward L. Ayers
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
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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