Unrequited Love in Tanaquil Le Clercq’s Afternoon of a Faun

Tanaquil Le Clercq

Tanaquil Le Clercq

Several days ago I found myself watching a documentary, it was one of those rare stories that mixed promise, tragedy, and unrequited love. Nancy Buirski’s Afternoon of a Faun is follows the life of Tanaquil Le Clercq, a young ballet dancer with the American Ballet, as she becomes a Balanchine muse and eventually his wife. When Tanaquil’s develops polio, her life is changed forever; she’s left immobile and sent to a treatment facility in Warm Springs, Georgia. Buirski’s depicts a devoted Balanchine as a devoted husband who desperately sought the best care for his wife, he truly believed Tanny, as she was called, would dance again. This would never happen, in fact, Tanny spent the rest of life in a wheelchair.

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