George Balanchine’s Muse and Last Wife, Tanaquil Le Clercq Focus of Author Talk in Weston

Orel Protopopescu (contributed photo)

WESTON, CT – In honor of Women’s History Month, the Friends of the Weston Public Library, the League of Women Voters of Weston,and the Weston Historical Society are partnering to host the lecture, “The Triumph of Tanaquil Le Clercq, Balanchine Ballerina”, with author Orel Protopopescu on Saturday, March 26, 2022 at 3:00pm at the Weston Public Library, 56 Norfield Road, Weston, CT. Protopopescu will be signing copies of her new biography, Dancing Past the Light: The Life of Tanaquil Le Clercq (University Press of Florida, 2021), which will be for sale at the event.

The event is free, but registration is required. Register at: via the Weston Public Library: The lecture takes place in person however it will also be live streamed for those who can’t attend in person. A live stream link will be emailed out to all registrants.

Tanaquil “Tanny” Le Clercq, George Balanchine’s muse and last wife, a longtime summer resident of Weston, triumphed on stage and off. Hers was a unique fusion of comical wit and dramatic allure. She never lost her sense of fun, even after polio, when she could only dance with her hands and voice, while seated in a wheelchair, to demonstrate steps to her students at the Dance Theatre of Harlem. The qualities that made this legendary ballerina unforgettable, especially her ability to give herself completely to a role, a moment, or a person, also enabled her to triumph over personal tragedy. Protopopescu will share a few extracts from films, as well as some exquisite pieces of this intimate biography made from more than a thousand sources, including letters, articles, drawings, interviews and photos, some never before published. Be prepared to be dazzled and inspired by a woman who managed to triumph in every sense of the word, before and long after her dancing days ended.

Orel Protopopescu, poet, author, educator and translator, has written prize-winning works for children and adults. A Thousand Peaks, Poems from China (with Siyu Liu, Pacific View Press, 2002), is a New York Public Library Best Book for the Teen Age. Poet laureate Billy Collins deemed A Word’s a Bird, Orel’s bilingual poetry app for iPad, “a wondrous learning experience.” It was chosen by School Library Journal as one of the ten best children’s apps of 2013. Orel won the Oberon poetry prize in 2010 and 2020. Her poems have been published in a chapbook, print and online journals, and anthologies. Dancing Past the Light: The Life of Tanaquil Le Clercq (University Press of Florida, 2021) is her first biography.

Reviews of Protopopescu new biography, Dancing Past the Light: The Life of Tanaquil Le Clercq (University Press of Florida, 2021) include:

“This thoughtful and elegant narrative is full of wonderful stories about the world of ballet. A fitting tribute to the life and legacy of a beloved dancer that will enthrall balletomanes everywhere.” — Carolyn M. Mulac, Starred Review, Library Journal

“Protopopescu has told the story of Le Clercq with grace, weaving in the background of some of the most influential people in her life… Protopopescu allows the reader to peer through a keyhole into Le Clercq’s world, a place that few of us were privileged to be.”—Jacques d’Amboise, New York City Ballet principal dancer and author of I Was a Dancer.

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education, civil dialogue, and advocacy. For more information, visit

The Weston Historical Society would like to thank its annual sponsors: Fairfield County Bank and KMS Partners at Compass as well as the Daniel E. Offutt, III Charitable Trust. The Weston Historical Society is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 1961 with a mission to discover, collect, and preserve Weston’s heritage, promoting understanding of and context to local, regional and world events. For more

information, visit
The Weston Public Library’s mission is to provide a broad range of informational, educational, technological, social and recreational resources to serve the diverse needs of the community. For more information, visit

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