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NYCB Vol. 5 No. 21 - Nutcracker

[21/50] [1/2] Maria Tallchief remembering Tanny's opening night performance as Dew Drop:


"...I watched Tanny lead the ‘Waltz of the Flowers.’ What a performance! Watching her you could see all of George’s training in the precision of her feet and legs, her beautiful port de bras, her response to the music. She was a dazzling dancer, and every time she left the stage I could hear the applause. By the end the audience was screaming, ‘Bravo!’ It took a while for the cheering to die down."




Tanaquil LeClercq as Dew Drop and the corps of Waltz of the Flowers.

Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1954. Life Archive.


 

[2/2] After my last post, I had a request for footage of Tanny dancing Dew Drop. The only easily available footage I’m aware of is this clip that the New York Public Library had on display in 2017-18 which former Times dance critic, @alastair.macaulay, recorded from the screen and shared to his Instagram. It is silent footage of Waltz of the Flowers in 1956. Below I’ve copied the original caption from Alastair’s post:


"The hardest single number to choreograph in 'The Nutcracker' is the Waltz of the Flowers: most choreographers run out of ideas during its course. Marius Petipa planned it to include vast numbers of women and men; Lev Ivanov duly made it along those lines. The greatest extant stage version is George Balanchine’s 1954 one, made for just fifteen women (twelve corps, two demi-soloists, one virtuoso soloist), an astounding kaleidoscope of changing geometries. I wrote of this in the “New York Times” (November 23, 2018 - alas, the video excerpts no longer work) and lectured on it in Oxford, England, in my Balanchine lecture of March 2020. Amazingly, its beauty, imagery, and brilliance are equalled by Walt Disney’s thrilling version in “Fantasia” (1940), but by no other. The soloist in this Waltz is the Dewdrop. Here is live if silent footage of Balanchine’s original Dewdrop and then wife, Tanaquil le Clercq (1929-2000), in 1956, the year in which her phenomenal but brief stage career ended when she contracted polio. Her legs - their sweep, line, attack, speed - remain sensational."


Friday 17 December 2022





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