Words on Dance Celebrates Twenty Years With Tanny

26 Feb

For ballet lovers with a grasp of history, the name Tanny conjures up one of the most elegant dancers ever to have graced American ballet floors.

Tanny, of course, refers to Tanaquil le Clerq, the willowy dancer who so enlivened my eyes in New York City in 1951-52 when I saw her in George Balanchine’s La Valse and in Sir Frederick Ashton’s Illuminations. I must have seen her in other works, but these linger. When New York City Ballet came to San Francisco in the ‘Fifties, I think I also saw her, totally dashing in the final movement of Western Symphony, that spoof that Balanchine did so well on hokey Westernisms.

Deborah Kaufman, who is the chief cook and bottle washer of Words on Dance, is bringing a tribute, a reflection and a memory of Le Clerq to the Opera Cinema, Friday, March 31, 2014 with “Afternoon of a Faun, Tanaquil Le Clerq,” a film by Nancy Buirski. Buirski will make an appearance and converse with Anita Paciotti, one of San Francisco Ballet’s Ballet Mistress.

Entrance to this showing, $45, will include an after-showing event in a nearby restaurant.

In my more breathless fan days I wrote Le Clerq a fan letter. She responded with a image in her role as Sacred Love in Les Illuminations and graced it with the comment, “With thanks for the wonderful letter.” A friend remarked, “She’s also grammatical.”

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