Having made her Jacob’s Pillow debut with Lester Horton Dance Theatre in 1953 and performed here as recently as 2014, Carmen de Lavallade holds the distinction of the longest Pillow performing career on record. As a student of Lester Horton’s in Los Angeles, she was responsible for first getting Alvin Ailey into a dance studio and later became a charter member of the Ailey company. Aside from her early Pillow appearances with Horton and Ailey, she has also performed here with her husband, Geoffrey Holder (who made The Creation for her), in the companies of Glen Tetley and Donald McKayle, and with PARADIGM. In the retrospective presentation seen here in its premiere, de Lavallade references John Butler’s iconic Portrait of Billie and juxtaposes it with Robert Lowell’s translation of “The Old Lady’s Lament for Her Youth,” a 15th-century poem by François Villon.
EXPLORE MAURA KEEFE’S MULTIMEDIA ESSAY ON CARMEN DE LAVALLADE