Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Weekend B.O. Oct.17-19 - How Did 'Dear White People' Do and What Might it Mean? Weekend B.O. Oct.17-19 - How Did 'Dear White People' Do and What Might it Mean? Trailer Debut: 'Black Dynamite' Season 2 Arrives Trailer Debut: 'Black Dynamite' Season 2 Arrives Review: 'Mike Tyson Mysteries' Proves That Iron Mike Isn't Afraid to Dress Himself Down Review: 'Mike Tyson Mysteries' Proves That Iron Mike Isn't Afraid to Dress Himself Down Donald Glover Adds to Growing Film Slate - Joins Cast of Ridley Scott's Sci-Fi Thriller 'The Martian' Donald Glover Adds to Growing Film Slate - Joins Cast of Ridley Scott's Sci-Fi Thriller 'The Martian' It All Started at a BSU Meeting: Justin Simien on 'Dear White People', Raven-Symoné, and the Black Art House (Interview) It All Started at a BSU Meeting: Justin Simien on 'Dear White People', Raven-Symoné, and the Black Art House (Interview) Warner Bros Reveals Details on Its 10 DC Comics Film Adaptations. Will Include a Cyborg Movie Starring Ray Fisher Warner Bros Reveals Details on Its 10 DC Comics Film Adaptations. Will Include a Cyborg Movie Starring Ray Fisher T.I. Teases His 'Ant-Man' Role - "I Play a Superhero's Homeboy" T.I. Teases His 'Ant-Man' Role - "I Play a Superhero's Homeboy" Lifetime Releases First FULL Trailer for 'Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B' (Premieres Saturday, 11/15) Lifetime Releases First FULL Trailer for 'Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B' (Premieres Saturday, 11/15) Steve McQueen Goes With Newcomer Devon Terrell to Play the Lead in His HBO Project Steve McQueen Goes With Newcomer Devon Terrell to Play the Lead in His HBO Project Sean Penn Puts Post-Earthquake Haiti In Focus In New Feature Doc 'Haiti Untold' - Now Streaming on Netflix Sean Penn Puts Post-Earthquake Haiti In Focus In New Feature Doc 'Haiti Untold' - Now Streaming on Netflix In Wake of 'Gotham' Controversy Comes 'Painted Down' - New Doc Chronicling Struggles & Hard Fought Victories of Black Stunt People In Wake of 'Gotham' Controversy Comes 'Painted Down' - New Doc Chronicling Struggles & Hard Fought Victories of Black Stunt People TV One Airs First-Ever Original, Scripted Work of Horror - Trilogy Titled 'The Fright Night Files' TV One Airs First-Ever Original, Scripted Work of Horror - Trilogy Titled 'The Fright Night Files' 'Drumline: A New Beat' (Sequel to the 2002 Film) Gets a Premiere Date + New Trailer (Watch It) 'Drumline: A New Beat' (Sequel to the 2002 Film) Gets a Premiere Date + New Trailer (Watch It) Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) ABC Is Making Changes To The Next-Day Online Availability Of Its Series ABC Is Making Changes To The Next-Day Online Availability Of Its Series Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Netflix Picks: Doc On 'Carmen & Geoffrey' - Dance Icons Of The African Diaspora

Shadow and Act By Vanessa Martinez | Shadow and Act June 11, 2012 at 8:11PM

I’ve been missing out not knowing much about the work of these two tremendous artists, icons I shall say, of what we regard today as modern dance.
3
Carmen & Geoffrey

I’ve been missing out not knowing much about the work of these two tremendous artists, icons I shall say, of what we regard today as modern dance.

Married since 1955 not long after they met after working together in Harold Arlen’s House of Flowers, Geoffrey Holder and Carmen De Lavallade’s work and personal lives are documented in the inspiring and quirky documentary Carmen & Geoffrey, now streaming on Netflix.

Directed by Linda Atkinson, a student of De Lavallade, and Nick Dobb, the documentary follows our eccentric and fascinating subjects through rare dance footage from the 50’s and 60’s, both individually and together – from their childhood dreams and aspirations, becoming stars in their own right, their partnership and romance, to the their life together and continuing careers.

I find it odd that Geoffrey and Carmen’s work isn’t more celebrated, although they have both received several honors throughout their artistic endeavors.

The first Black man to be nominated in either category, Holder garnered two Tony Awards 1975 for the direction and costume design of The Wiz, the all-black musical version of The Wizard of Oz.

Holder has helmed many dance pieces for different companies, including 1974’s Dougla, influenced by African and Indian dance styles and 1978’s Broadway musical Timbuktu! He also has several acting credits under his resume like 1973’s Live and Let Die. 1982’s Annie and 1992’s Boomerang.

Born in Trinidad and standing at 6’6”, Holder followed the footsteps of his brother Boscoe Holder- visual artist, dancer, choreographer and musician- since age 7. Not only does he possess a natural aptitude for dance, Holder is also a painter, fervent art collector, music composer and book author. The documentary showcases some of his impressive paintings and costume artwork.

Carmen De Lavallade, a 2004 Black History Month Lifetime Achievement Honoree, was born to Creole parents in Los Angeles. De Lavallade is the cousin of Janet Collins. She was Carmen’s biggest inspiration as a child; Collins was the first African American prima ballerina at the Metropolitan Opera.

From 1949 until 1954, Lavallade was the lead dancer of the Lester Horton Dance Theater, where she also studied other crafts including painting, acting, music and set design.  During her career, she performed in numerous theater shows and made several appearances in TV shows and films including Duke Ellington’s A Drum is a Woman, Othello, Death of a Salesman, Carmen Jones and 1959’s Odds Against Tomorrow.

Carmen & Geoffrey features amusing interviews with Geoffrey’s brother Boscoe, who reveals their peculiar sibling rivalry and competitive nature. Also featured, are Carmen’s work with lifelong friend and partner Alvin Ailey, Duke Ellington and Josephine Baker, the latter whom Carmen worked with on stage.

At the heart of the doc, is the enduring love and passionate friendship between our two subjects. Not only are they immensely talented dancers, artists and performers, but their ambition and confidence engulf everything they do.

Even if you’re not a lover of dance, whether classical ballet or modern, you will enjoy watching these two creative forces at play. Their work fuses art, passion, African culture, and acting performance into the beauty of dance; it’s dance of the African diaspora at its best.

Watch the trailer and clip below.

This article is related to: Reviews, NetFlix, Documentary


Shadow & ActNewsletter