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||Joseph Jacques Ahearn
July 28, 1934
Dedham, Massachusetts, U.S.
||Dancer and choreographer
Jacques d'Amboise (born July 28, 1934) is an American danseur and choreographer.
D'Amboise was born as Joseph Jacques Ahearn in Dedham, Massachusetts. He was a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, where ballets were especially created for him by famous choreographer George Balanchine. He has also choreographed ballets for the New York City Ballet.
As well as ballets, d'Amboise danced in films, including Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, where he played the part of Ephraim, one of the brothers—and Carousel (1956), where he danced the ballet role of the Starlight Carnival barker in Louise's Ballet.
D'Amboise founded National Dance Institute in 1976, which has been teaching school children how to dance for the past 30 years. The NDI program often combines music and art with studies of other cultures, histories, and literature, offering a unique and comprehensive performing arts experience, while fostering curiosity and a sense of achievement. The documentary film about Jacques d'Amboise and National Dance Institute, He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin', won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 1983 and an Emmy Award in 1984 for Best Children's Programming.
In 1999, for the National Dance Institute Step-by-Step program, he hiked the Appalachian Trail with his son George to fulfill his dream of back-packing the entire trail and to raise money for arts education.
D'Amboise has received many honors and awards, including 1990 MacArthur Fellowship, a Kennedy Center Honors Award, a National Medal of the Arts, a New York Governor's Award and an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Boston College (the last in 1986). He has also received many other awards and honors for his contribution to the Arts and dance education, such as the 7th Annual Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities. He earned a D.F.A. from Bates College in 1978. D'Amboise was also a full-time faculty member and the original Dean of the Dance Department at the State University of New York at Purchase.
D'Amboise married Carolyn George, a photographer and former ballerina, on New Year's Day, 1956, and they have four children including ballet dancer/choreographer Christopher d'Amboise and dancer Charlotte d'Amboise. He is the father-in-law of Terrence Mann, who married Charlotte, and Kelly Crandall, who married Christopher. Carolyn George d'Amboise died on February 10, 2009, aged 81.