#CarmendeLavallade beauty finessed with ethereal charm.
In her performance “As I Remember It” on October 30th 2014 to a capacity audience at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater, Washington DC, her autobiography was told in memories voiced and displayed in film montages.
No she did not need to wrench her now 83 year old vintage muscles, nor strain that elongated neck, nor master any extraordinary pirouettes or toe points. Her story mesmerized the audience in captions of fleeting moments of video, photography and film.
In a most intoxicating dramatization, she recreated Creation. God creating man/being in His own image and likeness in a much sculpted dance choreography, echoed by singing that resonated the fervor of the piece. In the next sketch she wailed at the penance of aging, talking to her fragmented body and its diminishing dimensions.
All this done with one costume. A draping fuchsia sweater over a deep maroon full body dance leotard.
The artistry of the tempered movements of the now aged Carmen, and the mirrored reflection of the young nubile exotic Carmen de Lavallade was the Dance of Immortality. With a stool and a tall back chair as her props, and a curtain of cascading rows of vertical miniature bulbs, the scenes were shadows of life moments with the many greats of performers, Pearl Bailey, Alvin Ailey, Josephine Baker and many more famed dancers, choreographers, producers of her era.
She introduced us to the marriage of like spirits in her meeting her husband Geoffrey Holder. So potent was his magnetism that she married him four months after their first meeting. As the show ended, as she summarily concedes to the mortality of her humanness in poetry and dance, the curtains in the back reflect her dancing with her lifelong partner Geoffrey, with rambunctious exhilaration and feisty artistry. I was holding back a gush of tears… because all the memories still live on….