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Remembering the legend of dance, ballet star Jacques d'Amboise


Notice: Transcripts are machine and human generated and lightly edited for accuracy. They may contain errors.

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: I always thought I would either be a doctor or an archaeologist or a crook, a really good crook.


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.

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