This is the fictionalized story of famous ballerina, Tanaquil Le Clercq. Tanny is beautiful, intelligent and one of the ballet world's most talented stars. Married to New York City Ballet director, George Balanchine, the book begins at the height of Tanny's career and life. She dances all the leading roles in the most popular ballets of the time, she's featured in fashion magazines and hobnobs with the creme de la creme. Tanny tours the world with Balanchine and one fateful day in Italy, she becomes deathly ill with fever and is unable to move her legs.
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Tanny is diagnosed with polio and her world crumbles. In a profession where her body is her most valuable tool, Tanny must learn to find meaning and happiness in other areas of life. Balanchine quits the ballet to devote himself wholly to Tanny's recovery, designing exercises to help her regain her strength but as the years pass, Tanny must come to terms with the debilitating fact that she will never walk again. Although she and Balanchine grow closer at the onset of this tragedy, her illness proves more trying for the both of them and Balanchine returns to the ballet. When he becomes infatuated with the next young dancer he dreams of making a star, Tanny struggles to cope with this while etching out happiness in a world of her own.
Best part of story, including ending:
I really loved how this story explored the art of ballet and how it meant so much to its masters. Balanchine is devoted to the art and in the end he and Tanny realize how much the art plays a role in their union.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene is the night they go out on gondolas and Tanny dips her finger in the water of the canal and tastes it. I found it so eerie how such a magical night could forever haunt her.
Opinion about the main character:
I liked how hard Tanny tried to accept her new condition in life. This once worldly creature who had everything, being relegated to a much lower station in life. She went from being a star and having it all to sitting on the sidelines watching as others lived their glamorous lives. This was hard to read but I found myself admiring this character more and more because of her will to live and continue to seek the beauty in life. Quite a remarkable book.