Carmen de Lavallade
As I Remember It (N.Y. Premiere)
This intimate portrait of dance icon and actress Carmen de Lavallade spans an unparalleled six-decade career working with luminaries Lena Horne, Harry Belafonte, Josephine Baker, Alvin Ailey, and many others. In the N.Y. Premiere of Ms. de Lavallade’s solo performance, poignant movement, film, and storytelling weave an unforgettable memoir about her venerable life on stage.
As I Remember It was developed by Ms. de Lavallade during two residencies at BAC in collaboration with director Joe Grifasi and co-writer/dramaturg Talvin Wilks. The production features lighting design by James F. Ingalls, video design by Maya Ciarrocchi, set design by Mimi Lien, sound design by Christopher J. Bailey, costume design by Esther Arroyo, and music by Jane Ira Bloom.
This presentation of As I Remember It was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project.
Generous support provided by Jeremy Smith.
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Carmen de Lavallade
Carmen de Lavallade has had an unparalleled career in dance, theater, film and television beginning in her hometown of Los Angeles performing with the Lester Horton Dance Theater—the first multi-race dance troupe in the United States. She persuaded a neighborhood friend named Alvin Ailey to join her in studying with Horton. While in Los Angeles, Lena Horne introduced the then 17-year-old Ms. de Lavallade to filmmakers at 20th Century Fox, where she appeared in movies with Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte.
Ms. de Lavallade’s dance career includes ballets created for her by Lester Horton, Geoffrey Holder, Alvin Ailey, Glen Tetley, John Butler, and Agnes de Mille. She succeeded her cousin Janet Collins as the principal dancer with the Metropolitan Opera, becoming the second black dancer to perform on that stage, and was a guest artist with the American Ballet Theater. She has choreographed for the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Philadanco, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and productions of Porgy and Bess and Die Meistersinger at the Metropolitan Opera. Ms. de Lavallade also has had an extensive acting career as a member of the Yale Repertory Theatre and the American Repertory Theatre at Harvard, performing in numerous off-Broadway productions, and serving as an instructor at the Yale School of Drama where she taught many up and coming “super stars,” including Meryl Streep and Henry Winkler. Ms. de Lavallade and her husband, Geoffrey Holder, were the subjects of the film Carmen & Geoffrey (2005). Her most recent theatrical work includes Step-Mother by Ruby Dee (2009), Post Black by Regina Taylor (2011), and the Broadway revival of A Streetcar Named Desire (2012). In 1999, she was named one of America’s 100 Irreplaceable Dance Treasures by Dance Heritage Coalition.
Slide photos: Christopher Duggan / Bio photo: Julieta Cervantes