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Holly Brubach
Unaffiliated independent scholar
The Life of Ballerina Tanaquil Le Clercq (1929-2000), Wife of George Balanchine and Mid-Century Muse to New York Artists, Writers and Intellectuals

Research and writing leading to a biography of the American ballerina Tanaquil Le Clerc (1929-2000).

Research and writing leading to publication of TANAQUIL, the first biography of Tanaquil Le Clercq, whose charismatic beauty, attenuated legs, and bold attack presented George Balanchine with new movement possibilities, grafting European sophistication onto the scale, speed, and exuberance he loved in his adopted country. Like many women, she was the product of her mother's thwarted ambition. She served as inspiration for nearly every major choreographer of the time. Jerome Robbins was in love with her; she married Balanchine. At the century's midpoint, she became the 'It' girl for a group of writers and artists transforming the cultural landscape. In 1956, Le Clercq contracted polio on the New York City Ballet's tour of Europe. Confined to a wheelchair, she made a new life for herself. Though her position in history is secure, her story has never been told. TANAQUIL will portray her contribution in detail and introduce this remarkable woman to a broad audience of general readers.

Project fields:
Cultural History; Dance History and Criticism; Gender Studies

Public Scholars

Research Programs

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 8/31/2020