Magazine article Dance Magazine

Carmen De Lavallade Makes Magic

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Carmen De Lavallade Makes Magic

Article excerpt

NEW YORK City - Carmen de Lavallade is one dancer who doesn't worry about the transition from a performing career to other employment. At sixty-three she continues to dance magically, and an array of choreographic assignments has also come her way.

In November 1993 she staged the dances for the Metropolitan Opera's acclaimed production of Antonin Dvorak's Rusalka, directed by Otto Schenk. Earlier last year, she had worked with Schenk on Die Meistersinger, also at the Met. In both she used the corps, not in formal patterns, but as ordinary people celebrating through dance.

This awareness of movement as part of total theater comes from the eight years she spent, during the late sixties and early seventies, as a performer and teacher of movement for actors at the Yale Repertory Theater. De Lavallade was invited to Yale because she is, as her 1966 Dance Magazine Award citation read: a "total dancer," one whose silken technique is interwoven with dramatic sensibility.

When the Metropolitan Opera engaged director Arvin Brown to recreate Porgy and Bess in 1990, he requested de Lavallade as choreographer. She accepted only if she could include a few dancers her own age. De Lavallade is a great believer in what might be called "dance verismo." This viewpoint also made her a natural for Francesca Zambello's production of Lucia di Lammermoor in 1992.

De Lavallade made her New York debut in 1953 with Lester Horton Company of Los Angeles. One of her most memorable portrayals was Horton's Salome. …

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