AFTERNOON OF A FAUN – NYFF & American Masters

Director: Nancy Buirski,
Producer: Ric Burns,
Executive Producer: Derek Britt,
Project Advisor: Martin Scorsese
Executive Producer: Susan Lacy
Executive Producer: Krysanne Katsoolis
Producer: Paola Freccero
Producer: Bonnie Lafave
Producer: Alysa Nahmias
Producer: Katie O’Rourke

In association with Carolyn Wright Lewis and Edward Lewis

AFTERNOON OF A FAUN: Tanaquil Le Clercq
Produced by Augusta Films
In association with Steeplechase Films


We’re very excited to present our newest film production. Following in the successful footsteps of THE LOVING STORY (HBO), Director Nancy Buirski with Producer Ric Burns and Executive Producer Derek Britt, begin production on this extraordinary new film (in production.)


Critically acclaimed Oscar-contender The Loving Story (HBO) Director- Producer Nancy Buirski brings to the screen for the first time the magnificent and tragic story of Tanaquil Le Clercq “Tanny,” a ballet dancer like no other before or after.

Muse and wife to George Balanchine. Lifelong love of Jerome Robbins. Immobilized by polio at the height of international fame. The ballet world has been haunted by her story ever since.
With a soul-stirring soundtrack and exquisite visuals, this is a story of how one woman so passionately influenced an entire art form and two of its most prolific and renowned creators. She was the nexus of inspiration, beauty, and invention, suddenly turned into a statistic.

Tanny is frighteningly real, amazingly candid, allowing us into a very private world. Rarely has a film revealed such a dramatic experience on such an intimate scale.

It all changed with Tanny. She stood out even as a child – by the age of sixteen she was a winner – tall, thin, elegant, witty, with a big jump and a sardonic grin. Her jazzy grace, her jauntiness, her intelligence and sexuality were different and intensely compelling. George Balanchine could not look at her, so struck was he by that difference. Eventually he did, and his world and that of ballet changed forever.

This is the first film ever on Tanaquil Le Clercq, a dancer of uncommon style and beauty who was muse to both George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. Balanchine married her, as he did more than once with the dancers who inspired him, and Robbins created his famous version of Afternoon of a Faun for Tanny. At once sensual and elegant, her appeal gripped both men equally. Recognized as uniquely gifted – her vivacity, her unbelievably long legs, her supple, sinuous figure, her theatricality and spirit – she was a ballerina of rare versatility. No one was thought to have a brighter future until it suddenly all stopped. On a tour of Europe, Tanny was struck down by polio at age 27. She never danced again.

She was in an iron lung; her prognosis was dire. Balanchine devoted himself to her recuperation. His pain, even guilt, was clear. Bizarrely, when Tanny was 15, still a student at the School of American Ballet, Balanchine choreographed a ballet for a polio fundraiser. He danced the role of the villain Polio, and Tanny danced the Victim.

Her name “Tanaquil” means omen.

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