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Jacques d'Amboise, 1934-2021

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My earliest memories of Jacques go way back to his student days at SAB.  He was 13 then, tall and skinny with straight black hair that was

always in his eyes.  He stood out from the rest of the boys by his sheer exuberance, and looking like he  belonged on a sandlot instead of

a ballet studio.  Eternal rest, Jacques.


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Posted (edited)

One night a few years at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House during intermission of a SFB program that included an excellent performance of Symphony in Three Movements, crazy counts and all, I thought I saw Jacques d'Amboise in the distance getting up from an orchestra seat. I was in the standing section and didn't want to stare and anyway I might have made a mistake anyway, so I turned away. A few minutes later I heard immediately behind me a distinctive and very lively voice, a type that you never hear in San Franciso, talking into a cell phone. "It's Jacques. I'm in San Francisco, at the ballet. So am I going to see you next week at Maria's memorial service?" After he had moved a little further away, I turned to the people next to me, and later to some friends, and said what you'd say in a ballet crowd, "Do you know who that was?" But no one, even devoted regular ballet audience members, indeed knew who that was nor seemed to care. For a moment it was like being in a dream and losing your voice. But now thinking back on it, I wonder who is phoning someone and saying, "am I going to see you next week at Jacques's memorial service."

Edited by Quiggin
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Jacques... never spoke down to us... always giving... so much energy and elegance as a dancer, and always a dancer, full of curiosity and fascination... and a superb partner....  I used to think his hands affectatious until someone pointed out that Balanchine held his hands that way...   and a producer, he was always bring talent together.


if only he were not so unique.... the world could use so many more like him.

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A man with a very fine career as well as being a very sympathetic human being and social benefactor.

As famous as he was as a performer, I always appreciated what he did after.

Here from the New York Time's obituary:

"He retired from performance the next year and turned his attentions to National Dance Institute, which takes dance into public schools and which he founded in 1976.

"Now the goal is to offer free classes to all, no matter the child’s background or ability. Today the institute teaches thousands of New York City children ages 9 to 14 and is affiliated with 13 dance institutes around the world. The institute, which has its headquarters in Harlem, where Mr. d’Amboise lived, was profiled in Emile Ardolino’s 1983 Oscar-winning documentary, “He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin’.”"

(Thanks to Bruce Wall at BalletcoForum)


And you might have heard me mention him here:



Edited by Buddy
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So very sad to hear this news. I loved his dancing, his gigantic smile and his grand exuberance. RIP, dear Jacques. You gave the world yourself. We are so lucky to have been the recipients of your largess. 

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