TASH Conference Attendees: Grab your morning coffee and join us for a special screening of Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq!
Afternoon of a Faun illuminates the exceptional qualities of Tanny in life and in dance. It portrays her artistic triumph and her personal tragedy of contracting polio at the height of her ballet career in 1956. Through her own words and through the people who knew and loved her, our film captures her love of dance, her unique personality full of humor, candor and passion, and her position as the inspiration and love of arguably the two leading 20th century choreographers working in America.
The possibility of treating Tanny’s intensely dramatic story as poetry was highly attractive to me as the painter as well as the filmmaker. A ballet dancer tries to ascend weightlessly into air, only to be brought back by the earth’s gravitational pull. It is the poetry of dance itself, and what could be more symbolic of the art form than a transcendental dancer pulled back to earth forever. It is what all dancers fear and face as they age out of their professions – so much sooner than most. It is a form of death greeting them prematurely. Balanchine created La Valse for Tanaquil Le Clercq – death comes to her, it embraces her and she falls to the ground, dead. It was the metaphor of dance as he had come to know it. Our film has tried to capture this poetry in mood, music and stirring dance.