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, and in the companies of Glen Tetley and Donald McKayle. John Butler created his iconic Portrait of Billie for de Lavallade and danced in its world premiere with her at the Pillow in 1960. As a tribute to Butler, she revived the duet with Ulysses Dove and presented it here with the choreographer in attendance for a 1992 gala performance.
EXPLORE MAURA KEEFE’S MULTIMEDIA ESSAY ON CARMEN DE LAVALLADE