Yesterday, in my dance fever post, I included this photo of Carmen De Lavallade and Geoffrey Holder.
I posted it, even though they were not dancing, because I knew that they are both dancers.
Their impact on that world is massive and eternal. More so than I even knew at the time. Truthfully, before I read about Carmen & Geoffrey the documentary on Shadow & Act, I had never heard of her and only thought of him as my beloved Punjab from Annie.
Well, cut to last night. With that dance post heavy on my mind. I needed something to watch while I (finally, after much procrastinating) ironed the kids clothes for the next day. I clicked over to Netflix and put on C&G because that gorgeous picture of them was still on my mind.
WHAT A FASCINATING STORY!!
I was riveted to the TV! I stayed up, waaay too late, because I simply could not wait until the next day to see the film in its entirety. There should be classes taught about these two. Seriously. The amount of work they’ve done, barriers they’ve broken and longevity they’ve maintained is truly astonishing. There are, to me anyway, parallels in their lives and those of another powerhouse couple: Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. While Carmen and Geoffrey continue to enjoy a long and happy marriage, and Frida and Diego did not, their creativity, talent, drive and equal levels of success in their respective fields is quite similar.
Very few artists are appreciated and celebrated in their own lifetime like these four were. Carmen and Geoffrey have stacks and stacks of awards and accolades. They branched beyond dance and performed in film and theater productions. Geoffrey is an amazing gifted painter and director. Shows that he choreographed in the 60s and 70s are still performed. Carmen has taught throughout her life and at over eighty years old, she still dances and performs. Often. Learning about these two should be required for all artists for their lives are a lesson in staying relevant and happy. Their loyalty and support of one another is rare, too. Geoffrey was still calling her his goddess and muse at nearly 50 years together. Carmen still a frequent subject of his paintings. She still performs work he choreographed, wearing a dress he created just for her.
If you have a Netflix subscription, consider watching this beautiful film about these two extraordinarily interesting people and the highlights of a life lived completely on their own terms.