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19th Annual Barbara Biber Lecture

Presented by the Graduate School of Education


Jacques d'Amboise

Former principal dancer with New York City Ballet and founder of the National Dance Institute, an award winning arts education program

Presentation: 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Reception: 6:30 - 7:00 p.m.

Recognized as one of the finest classical dancers of our time, Jacques d’Amboise now leads the field of arts education with a model program that exposes thousands of school children to the magic and discipline of dance. In 1976, while still a principal dancer with New York City Ballet, Mr. d’Amboise founded National Dance Institute (NDI) in the belief that the arts have a unique power to engage and motivate individuals towards excellence.

His contributions in arts education have earned him numerous awards and honors including: a 1990 MacArthur Fellowship; The Kennedy Center Honors (1995); and induction into The American Academy of Arts & Sciences (2007).  He holds Honorary Doctorates from twelve colleges including Bank Street College of Education.

 The arts open your heart and mind to possibilities that are limitless. They are pathways that touch upon our brains and emotions and bring sustenance to imagination. Human beings’ greatest form of communication, they walk in tandem with science and play, and best describe what it is to be human.                                                                          - Jacques d'Amboise

“He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin’,” a 1984 PBS documentary film about his work with NDI, won an Academy Award, six Emmy Awards, the Peabody Award, the Golden Cine Award, and the National Education Association Award for the advancement of learning through broadcasting. He has also served as a full professor and Dean of Dance for two years at SUNY Purchase, and for 11 years as visiting professor at the College of Creative Studies, University of California at Santa Barbara. Mr. d’Amboise began his ballet training with Madame Seda in Washington Heights, New York. Within a year, at the age of eight, he continued his studies at the School of American Ballet with George Balanchine, Anatola Oboukhoff and Pierre Vladimiroff. At age 12 he performed with Ballet Society, the immediate predecessor to New York City Ballet. Three years later, barely 15, he joined New York City Ballet and the following year made his European debut at London’s Covent Garden. As Balanchine’s protégé, Mr. d’Amboise had more works choreographed specifically for him by The Ballet Master than any other dancer, including the ballets: Stars and Stripes, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Episodes, Figures in the Carpet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Jewels, Raymonda Variations, Meditation, and Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet. Mr. d’Amboise is most remembered for his portrayal of what critics called “the definitive Apollo.” As a choreographer, Mr. d’Amboise’s credits include almost twenty works commissioned for New York City Ballet.

Mr. d’Amboise’s work in dance education has taken him all over the world—from the extremes of Yakutsk, Siberia, to the Danakil Desert in Ethiopia, from over 1,200 feet below sea level at the Dead Sea to the mountains of Nepal, and from the dryness of the Atacama Desert in Chile to rainforests on the island of Kauai in the Hawaiian Chain. Over the last 30 years, NDI programs in New York City and its associates, both nationally and internationally, have reached and influenced over 2 million children, in particular the programs National Dance Institute have integrated with the city of Shanghai, China.

For more information, please contact Esperanza Olivo at or 212-875-4467.