Dancer and actress on the stage and screen
CARMEN DE LAVALLADE
Photo by Julieta Cervantes
“Over the years, she has been a favorite of choreographers because, in her own words, ‘I’m someone who’s easy to mold.’ Whatever you want her to dance, she will find a way to do it. Choreographers also love her because she has a solid technique and a brilliant, unsurpassable talent for interpreting a ballet.”
Carmen de Lavallade
Carmen de Lavallade has had an unparalleled career in dance, theater, film and television beginning in her hometown of Los Angeles performing with the Lester Horton Dance Theater. While in Los Angeles, Lena Horne introduced the then 17 year old de Lavallade to the filmmakers at 20th Century Fox where she appeared in four movies, including Carmen Jones (1954) with Dorothy Dandridge and Odds Against Tomorrow (1959) with Harry Belafonte. During the filming of Carmen Jones, she met Herbert Ross, who asked her to appear as a dancer in the Broadway production of House of Flowers. Her dance career includes having ballets created for her by Lester Horton, Geoffrey Holder, Alvin Ailey, Glen Tetley, John Butler and Agnes de Mille.
Carmen de Lavallade succeeded her cousin Janet Collins as the principal dancer with the Metropolitan Opera and was a guest artist with the American Ballet Theater. She has choreographed for the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Philadanco, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and the productions of Porgy and Bess and Die Meistersinger at the Metropolitan Opera.
Ms. de Lavallade also has had an extensive acting career performing in numerous off-Broadway productions including Death of a Salesman and Othello. She taught movement for actors at Yale and became a member of the Yale Repertory Company and the American Repertory Theatre at Harvard.