Always a dancer

You never know what to expect when a guest walks through the green room.  But what I least expect is what I often get.  This week it was a mini serenade in Portuguese by one of the ballet world’s leading dancers of the 20th century.  His name is Jacques D’Amboise, but name -and Portuguese serenade aside, there is nothing French- nor pretentious-about him.  At age 77 with a young boy’s curiosity coupled with a tinge of mischief in his eye, Jacques embodies passion.  Though retired from the life of a practicing dancer, his energy is far from expired.   High cheek bones chiseled by the winds of pirouettes and eyes that almost squeeze shut with the broad smile that stretches across his face, this man exudes his inner passion from every pore in his body.  Nimble-minded with a zest for life to match, this  life-long passion of his is now bestowed upon his fans through vivid, rich stories of growing up as a teen in the New York City Ballet, studying with the masters, and training younger teachers to spread the magic that lives within their bodies.

He says, “It’s an extraordinary thing to be a ballet dancer. You cannot divorce yourself from the music. You get up in the morning, you warm up, you stretch, you do a little floor mat. And now ballet class starts and for the next hour or hour and a half, music is your floor, and you are interpreting that music by the way you move.”

The music flows through this dancer extraordinaire even when the room is silent.  His movements, the poetry of motion.  On stage celebrating his book, “I Was a Dancer” during an ALOUD at Central Library conversation this week, one witnesses how Jacques’ stage is life, and life, his stage.  No longer a practicing dancer, it is his words that move through the body, or yet again, maybe it is the body that moves his words.   It’s that interchangeable relationship-the one where you flip it upside down, turn it inside-out and it still makes sense.  The marriage of two parts that- no matter which one comes first- the other one always follows and the dividing line becomes invisible.  It is this beauty that makes a master-where their creative spirit becomes their career, where their career is their creativity: manifested.  That is the point where passion reigns.   Bravo to the people who live with such passion and have made it their mission to share it with us.   (And here’s to the sweet surprises like Portuguese serenades from ballet dancers in the green room!)

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~ by maureenmoore on April 22, 2011.

4 Responses to “Always a dancer”

  1. BRAVA! I love the description of artist-man he is. When you said–“here their creative spirit becomes their career, where their career is their creativity: manifested. That is the point where passion reigns”–it made it all come together for me. Can’t wait for more…

  2. And it takes one artist (of words) extraordinaire like yourself to recognize another. Your motion, movement, balance, and fluidity of words is no less an awe-inspiring dance to watch than I’m sure his would be! From a genuine admirer . . . .

  3. Beautiful, Maureen, you really captured this artist’s grace and his gift of sharing it, as you have in this lyrical text. Brava!

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