Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq

She was beautiful and could do things nobody had ever seen before. She could be classical but could also show her wild, passionate side. Anyone who ever saw Tanaquil Le Clercq (1929–2000) on the stage of the New York City Ballet remembers – even decades later – the way in which this marvellous ballerina revolutionised dance theatre. In interviews, photographs and historical footage from public and private archives, Nancy Buirski’s essayistic documentary explores the fascination that Tanaquil held for so many. The film contains extracts from celebrated productions created by Tanaquil's husband Georges Balanchine and her friend Jerome Robbins. Her tender yet expressive interpretation of the art of dance transformed pieces such as ‘The Firebird’, ‘The Afternoon of a Faun’ and ‘The Nutcracker’ into events. The film also charts Tanaquil Le Clercq’s struggle against the cruel fate that befell her: although struck down with spinal polio during a tour at the age of 27 and henceforth confined to a wheelchair, she was by no means prepared to give up her dream of modern ballet, or her independence as a woman and creative artist.
by Nancy Buirski USA 2013 91’

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