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Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq film review 

Wednesday, Mar 19 2014

Aplomb is basic to ballet, so obviously it matters a lot to ballet movies. Nancy Buirski's documentary accordingly suggests that the true story of Tanaquil Le Clercq — the story of a great ballerina paralyzed by polio — is only as tragic as the ballerina herself decided it would be. Using speaks-for-itself footage of Le Clercq in her signature roles, and readings of her reflective and exceedingly romantic correspondence, Buirski easily affirms that the dancer's angular sensuality was but one aspect of her enduring creative power. Of course it helped that two of the most important men in her life were also two of the century's most important choreographers, George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. A tip of the hat to Vaslav Nijinsky's 1912 version for the Ballets Russes might have been nice here, but it's hard to fault Buirski's admiration for the way Le Clercq made everything seem completely her own.

About The Author

Jonathan Kiefer

SF Weekly movie critic Jonathan Kiefer is on Twitter: @kieferama and of course @sfweeklyfilm.


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