Jacques d'Amboise (dancer)

Jacques d'Amboise (born July 28, 1934) is an American danseur and choreographer.

Jacques d'Amboise
Jacques d'Amboise
D'Amboise in 2000
Joseph Jacques Ahearn

July 28, 1934 (age 84)
OccupationDancer and choreographer
Years active1942–present
Spouse(s)Carolyn d'Amboise (1956-2009; her death; 4 children)
ChildrenChristopher d'Amboise
Charlotte d'Amboise
George d'Amboise
Catherine d'Amboise (b. 1964)


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 created especially for him by choreographer George Balanchine. D'Amboise also choreographed ballets for the New York City Ballet.[1][2]

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 which he partnered Susan Luckey in Louise's Ballet and the Disney movie "Offbeat" (1986), built around a dance class he taught to New York City police.[3]

D'Amboise founded National Dance Institute in 1976, which has been teaching school children how to dance for the past 40 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.[4][5]

D'Amboise has received many honors and awards, including 1990 MacArthur Fellowship, a 1995 Kennedy Center Honors Award,[6] a 1998 National Medal of the Arts, a New York Governor's Award and an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Boston College and several others, the last honorary doctorate was received was Montclair State University in May 2012. 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.[7] He earned a D.F.A. from Bates College in 1978. D'Amboise was an early Dean of the Conservatory of Dance at the State University of New York at Purchase and a full-time faculty member.[8]


D'Amboise married Carolyn George, a photographer and former ballerina, on New Year's Day 1956. They have four children including ballet dancer/choreographer Christopher d'Amboise and dancer Charlotte d'Amboise. He is the father-in-law of Charlotte's husband Terrence Mann and Christopher's wife Kelly Crandall. Carolyn George died on February 10, 2009, aged 81.


  1. ^ Victoria Looseleaf. A New Chapter for Jacques d'Amboise, The Los Angeles Times, 15 May 2011
  2. ^ Biography of Jacques d'Amboise at the Kennedy Center on www.kennedy-center.org
  3. ^ Kassing, Gayle. History of Dance -Second Edition. Human kinetics, Champagne, Il., 2017 on books.google.com ISBN 978-1-4925-3669-7
  4. ^ "Jacques on the Appalachian Trail". National Dance Institute. Archived from the original on February 19, 2013. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  5. ^ Anstead, Alicia. "The Dancing Hiker". Archived from the original on December 4, 2008. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  6. ^ Kennedy Center Awards Honorees - Jacques d'Amboise on kennedy-center.org
  7. ^ The Heinz Awards, Jacques d'Amboise profile
  8. ^ College catalogs, State University of New York, College at Purchase, 1972-1978.

External links

1934 in music

This is a list of notable events in music that took place in the year 1934.


D'Amboise is a French surname meaning "of Amboise". Notable people with the surname include the following:

Charlotte d'Amboise, Broadway dancer and daughter of Jacques d'Amboise.

Christopher d'Amboise, former New York City Ballet principal dancer and son of Jacques d'Amboise.

Jacques d'Amboise (doctor) (1559–1606), French doctor and surgeon

Jacques d'Amboise (bishop) (ca. 1445–1516), French religious dignitary and patron of medieval France

Jacques d'Amboise (dancer) (born 1934), American ballet dancer and choreographer

Jacques d'Amboise

Jacques d'Amboise may refer to:

Jacques d'Amboise (doctor) (1559–1606), French doctor and surgeon

Jacques d'Amboise (bishop) (ca. 1445–1516), French religious dignitary and patron of medieval France

Jacques d'Amboise (dancer) (born 1934), American ballet dancer and choreographer

List of recipients of the National Medal of Arts

The National Medal of Arts is an award and title created by the United States Congress in 1984, for the purpose of honoring artists and patrons of the arts. A prestigious American honor, it is the highest honor given to artists and arts patrons by the United States government. Nominations are submitted to the National Council on the Arts, the advisory committee of the National Endowment for the Arts, who then submits its recommendations to the White House for the President of the United States to award. The medal was designed for the NEA by sculptor Robert Graham.

Awards for Jacques d'Amboise

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