Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq
Of all the great ballerinas, Tanaquil Le Clercq may have been the most transcendent. With a body unlike any before hers, she mesmerized viewers and choreographers alike. With her elongated, race-horse physique, she became the new prototype for the great George Balanchine. Because of her extraordinary movement and unique personality on stage, she became a muse to two of the greatest choreographers in dance, George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. She eventually married Balanchine, and Robbins created his famous version of Afternoon of a Faun for her. She had love, fame, adoration, and was the foremost dancer of her day until it suddenly all stopped. At the age of 27, she was struck down by polio and paralyzed. She never danced again. The ballet world has been haunted by her story ever since.