By Gregory Crofton
I’m no fan of ballet. I saw one performance in London years ago, but this film made me a believer. Oh Tanny! Such a natural. Her physicality inspired the best choreographers to do their most challenging work. Once you see the black-and-white footage of her dancing, why this happened becomes completely clear.
Director Nancy Buirsky’s previous doc, “The Loving Story” (2011), focuses on an pioneering biracial couple from Virginia. “Afternoon of a Faun” is a love story too, between Tanaquil le Clerq and the famous choreographer George Balanchine. But it’s also a tragic story as Tanny’s life takes a sharp and devastating turn.
It was wonderful to see this film on the big screen. It’s soundtrack is the beautiful music of Claude Debussey matched to archival footage of Tanny’s long legs and sleek dancing. You can watch it for $4.99 right now right here. Or buy it on DVD here.
Watch a trailer for the film.
Q&A with film’s director Nancy Buirsky after a screening at Lincoln Center in 2013.