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Life of a Legend: Carmen de Lavallade
Jazz at Lincoln Center
A singular icon graces The Appel Room in this special Life of a Legend performance. Dancer, actor, and choreographer Carmen de Lavallade has a unique gift for movement, and her groundbreaking performances have inspired artists and audiences for generations. Tonight we celebrate de Lavallade’s love of both dance and jazz, revisiting some of the iconic dance works she performed with jazz musicians.
Though she has long been a star on Broadway and in Hollywood, theater, and many genres of dance—including ballets choreographed for her by the likes of Lester Horton, Agnes de Mille, and Geoffrey Holder—her roots in jazz run especially deep. She improvised dances with Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Bill Evans, and Jane Ira Boom. She brought Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington to tears in 1960 with her embodiment of Billie Holiday in “Portrait of Billie”—a piece that de Lavallade performed with a friend whom she brought to the dance world: Alvin Ailey. De Lavallade’s artistry goes so much deeper than technical mastery; she approaches dance as an act of storytelling, a transfixing form of communication that she still achieves with grace at age 87.
De Lavallade was named a 2017 Kennedy Center Honors recipient for her lifetime contributions to American culture, and it is a privilege to have her star in this exclusive Jazz at Lincoln Center program. Join us in The Appel Room to witness and celebrate her greatness up close and in person.
- Dancer Maggie Small
- Soprano Saxophonist & Music Director Jane Ira Bloom,
- Pianist Dominic Fallacaro
- Bassist Dean Johnson
- Drummer Billy Drummond
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