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The Appel Room 2018-19 Season

Life of a Legend: Carmen de Lavallade


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 danceincluding ballets choreographed for her by the likes of Lester Horton, Agnes de Mille, and Geoffrey Holderher roots in jazz run especially deep. She improvised dances with Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Bill Evans, and Jane Ira Bloom. 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. Actor and Carmen's former student Sigourney Weaver will appear to kick off the evening and introduce Carmen. 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

Visitor Info

Box Office

Broadway and 60th Street

Ground Floor



Mon-Sat, 10am-6pm

Sun, 12pm-6pm