Magazine article Dance Teacher

Jacques D'amboise

Magazine article Dance Teacher

Jacques D'amboise

Article excerpt

From scrappy youth to Balanchine prodigy to founder of the National Dance Institute

IN THE DANCE WORLD, Jacques d'Amboise is a living legend. He was a tough street kid who rose to the rank of New York City Ballet principal as George Balanchine's protégé, choreographed several ballets for the company and wrote and directed for film and television. He has authored several books on dance and remains a Leader in dance outreach and education.

During his performance career, d'Amboise originated more Balanchine roles than any other dancer. Among them are some of Mr. B's most iconic and classically American ballets: Who Cares?, Jewels, Stars and Stripes and Raymonda Variations. D'Amboise was perhaps most celebrated for the title role of Apollo (though he did not help create the part), captivating audiences with his energy, handsome features and unmistakably cool and commanding presence. Ironically, Balanchine summarized the theme of this ballet as: "A wild, untamed youth learns nobility through art."

D'Amboise's foray into teaching began in the late '60s, while he was still dancing professionally. His first class gathered on Saturdays at the School of American Ballet and was made up of a group of young boys, including d'Amboise's two sons.

At age 50, nearly 35 years after joining NYCB, d'Amboise left the company to fully invest himself in dance education. In 1976, he established the National Dance Institute with the goal of providing children, regardless of financial status or background, the opportunity to experience the arts. …

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