PBS NewsHour


Remembering the legend of dance, Jacques d'Amboise

We take a moment to look back at the career of dancer Jacques d’Amboise, who died Sunday at age 86 in his Manhattan home following complications from a stroke. His work with the New York City Ballet, on film and in public schools, brought dance to new heights.

AIRED: May 04, 2021 | 0:02:23

JUDY WOODRUFF: Now: remembering the career of dancer Jacques d'Amboise. His work with

the New York City Ballet on film and in the public schools brought dance to new heights.

He died Sunday at his home in Manhattan following complications from a stroke. Jeffrey Brown

is back with a look at his legacy. JEFFREY BROWN: He called himself a New Yorker with

a fancy French name, but Jacques d'Amboise was first and foremost a legend in the world

of dance, best known as a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, appearing for

decades on stages around the world. He also appeared in several Hollywood films, including

the 1954 musical "Seven Brides For Seven Brothers." For him, it began as a 7-year-old placed in

ballet by his mother as a way, he said, to keep him out of trouble. JACQUES D'AMBOISE,

Dancer: I always thought I would either be a doctor or an archaeologist or a crook, a

really good crook. (LAUGHTER) JEFFREY BROWN: Years later, he would dedicate himself to

working with young people to bring them into dance. We talked in 2015 at the Harlem-based

National Dance Institute he created for public school children in New York City. JACQUES

D'AMBOISE: If you think back, why are you doing what you're doing, it's those early

influences, your teachers especially, and your parents, that kind of write the scripts

that you end up acting out the rest of your life. JEFFREY BROWN: Throughout the years,

the institute has brought free dance lessons to the classroom, uplifting and inspiring

thousands of young students from all backgrounds and dance capabilities. JACQUES D'AMBOISE:

Children will play until they drop, right? Ask them to put out the garbage, I'm too tired,

mommy. I'm too tired. But if you say, can you put out the garbage walking backward and

then hop on one leg, or singing "The Star-Spangled Banner"? Make play and testing part of the

game, and people will kill themselves to be able to do it. JEFFREY BROWN: D'Amboise's

joy in providing a dance education carries on at The National Dance Institute today.

JACQUES D'AMBOISE: It can't be too long. JEFFREY BROWN: Jacques d'Amboise was 86 years old.

For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Jeffrey Brown. JUDY WOODRUFF: Such a nice remembrance.