The life of the Late Geoffrey Holder will be Celebrated on His Birthday

The life of the Late Geoffrey Holder will be Celebrated on His Birthday

August 1, 2015
New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman, Plaza Corridor Gallery,
40 Lincoln Center Plaza
65th Street & Broadway
(917) 275-6975

In an exceptional career spanning more than 50 years, the late Geoffrey Holder left an indelible mark in the fields of dance, theater, film, and the visual arts. Lincoln Center offers a tapestry of events on Holder’s birthday, August 1, in celebration of a New York City icon and Renaissance man of the arts. Highlighted by the premiere of a new co-commissioned work by acclaimed choreographer Garth Fagan, performed by his company, along with a solo performance by celebrated dancer Carmen de Lavallade, Holder’s wife and life-long muse, the day-long celebration also includes the screening of a documentary about the life and work of the couple, preceded by a panel discussion.  A companion multi-media exhibition, The Genius of Geoffrey Holder, is on view at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, through August 29, 2015.


Panel discussion:  The Life and Work of Geoffrey Holder, speakers TBD


Carmen and Geoffrey, 2006, 79 Minutes

This joyful documentary celebrates two giants of the dance and theatrical worlds: dancer/choreographer/ actress Carmen de Lavallade and multi-hyphenate Geoffrey Holder. Wife-husband team Linda Atkinson (a student of Carmen’s) and Nick Doob (Academy Award-winner for From Mao to Mozart) capture the intimate chemistry between quietly brilliant Carmen and larger-than-life Geoffrey. The film features interviews and performance footage of friends and colleagues including dancers Judith Jamison, Gus Solomons, Jr., Dudley Williams, Ulysses Dove, and Alvin Ailey.


Garth Fagan Dance

Garth Fagan turns 75 in May, and he and the company he founded nearly 45 years ago are going strong. “Ensconced in the top rank of America’s most distinguished, contemporary choreographers,” (The Star-Ledger) Fagan’s ever-evolving dance language draws on modern and post-modern idioms and ballet, and powerful roots in Afro-Caribbean dance.


New Work co-commissioned by Lincoln Center Out of Doors – “Tribute to Geoffrey Holder”


Discipline is Freedom (September 1981, revised May 1983)
Choreography by Garth Fagan
Music by Abdullah Ibrahim (Dollar Brand) and Max Roach
Lighting Design by C.T. Oakes
Costumes by Amanda Horne

Thanks Forty (Excerpts) (November 2010)
Choreography by Garth Fagan
Music by Dmitri Shostakovich, Bonga Kuenda, and Gerald Albright
Lighting Design by Hideaki Tsutsui
Costumes by Lena-Marie Bell

No Evidence of Failure (Excerpt) (November 2013)
Choreography by Garth Fagan
Music by Monty Alexander
Lighting Design by Lutin Tanner
Costumes by Garth Fagan

Carmen de Lavallade performs The Creation, the 1972 solo choreographed and scored by Geoffrey Holder, accompanied by vocals by the Ebony Ecumenical Ensemble. Dancer and actress Carmen de Lavallade made her professional debut as a principal dancer with The Metropolitan Opera. Her career has spanned stage and film and she has collaborated with celebrated choreographers including Agnes de Mille, Glen Tetley and John Butler. Writing about a performance of The CreationThe New York Times said, “Anyone who has seen Miss de Lavallade whip through an arm ripple suggesting a river or first man standing upright for the first time will never forget her artistry.”

Made possible in part by the Harkness Foundation for Dance.

The Ebony Ecumenical Ensemble was founded in 1979 by renowned musical director, musicologist, and activist Bettye Franks Forbes. The Ensemble’s wide-ranging repertoire brings together a body of work encompassing the African American religious experience. Included in the repertoire are traditional and contemporary spirituals, anthems, hymns, and gospels. One of New York City’s great cultural treasures, The Ebony Ecumenical Ensemble has performed throughout the United States and abroad.

The Genius of Geoffrey Holder

Born and trained in Trinidad, Geoffrey Holder revealed his genius in his long career in dance, theater, film, music, and art. As a choreographer, designer, director, dancer and actor, Geoffrey Holder is well represented in all of the research and circulating collections of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.  The multi-media exhibition will cover his performing career, his Tony Award-winning work as director and costume designer for The Wiz, and contributions to the repertory of the Alvin Ailey Dance Company and Dance Theatre of Harlem.

The event is being held in association with the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center.

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