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Jacques D'Amboise
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Dancer
    (July 28, 1934-May 2, 2021)
    Born in Dedham, Massachusetts
    Birth name was Joseph Jacques Ahearn
    Dancer and choreographer with the New York City Ballet (1949-84)
    Choreographed 17 ballets for the New York City Ballet
    Appeared on Broadway in ‘Shinbone Alley’ (1957)
    Appeared in the films ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers’ (1954), ‘Carousel’ (1956), and ‘Off Beat’ (1986)
    Subject of the Oscar-winning documentary ‘He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin’’ (1983)
    Father of Tony nominees Christopher and Charlotte d’Amboise
    His father changed the family’s last name to one that sounded ‘better for the ballet.’
    His new last name started with a lowercase letter and featured an apostrophe, both of which screw up the AIA search engine.
    He dropped out of high school to join the New York City Ballet.
    He ended up with two artificial knees from decades of wear and tear as a dancer.
    George Ballanchine choregraphed 24 roles specifically for him – more than for any other dancer.
    Anna Kisselgoff, dance critic for the New York Times, said, ‘[His] masculine presence and exuberance helped make dancing for boys acceptable in America.’
    He founded the National Dance Institute to teach dance at public schools (1976).
    At age 65, he hiked the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail as a fundraiser for the NDI.
    He received a MacArthur Foundation ‘Genius Grant’ (1990) and the National Medal of the Arts (1998).
    He and fellow dancer Carolyn George were married for 53 years.

Credit: C. Fishel


 
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