A street in New York City has been renamed in honor of Jacques d'Amboise, legendary ballet dancer and founder of the arts education organization National Dance Institute (NDI).
The northwest corner of West 64th Street and Columbus Avenue, in front of New York’s Lincoln Center, now displays the name Jacques d’Amboise Place. The dedication ceremony took place next to the New York City Ballet, where Mr. d’Amboise called home for 35 years. Mr. d'Amboise passed away last year at 86.
The New York City Council’s Committee on Parks and Recreation voted unanimously to name the street to honor Jacques d’Amboise following more than 100 signatures from students, parents, organizations, educators, actors, artists, dancers, and producers whose lives were inspired by Mr. d’Amboise. The children of NDI paid tribute to Mr. d’Amboise with two performances, “When the Saints Go Marching In” and “Dancing in the Street.”
“Jacques d’Amboise leaves behind a wonderful legacy that inspires artists to continue Manhattan's prominence as a global center of music, dance, theatre, and the visual arts. Jacques understood the transformative power, emotion, and joy of dance, and the National Dance Institute has grown—indeed in leaps and bounds—to reach over two million children from Harlem to countries throughout the world,” said Council Member Gale A. Brewer. “Jacques' legacy—and this street co-naming—inspires us all to continue to work together to ensure that every child in this city can access quality arts programming,” she added.
Mr. d’Amboise began his career as a dancer for New York City Ballet under the tutelage of George Balanchine. Though he went on to choreograph for NYCB, he did make his way into the theatre, performing in Broadway’s Shinbone Alley and dancing in the films of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Carousel. In 1976, Mr. d’Amboise founded the National Dance Institute. The program serves more than 6,000 students a week, the majority from low-income families, for free.
The d’Amboise Family requests that all donations in memory of Mr. d’Amboise be made to the NDI. The Jacques d’Amboise Legacy Fund has been established to support artistic endeavors that honor his vision, creativity, and commitment to arts education. Donations can be made at NationalDance.org.
The street naming is the first of three events in May and June that will honor his life and work. The Historic Landmarks Preservation Center will install a Cultural Medallion to honor Jacques d’Amboise at the site of his former residence at 2601 Frederick Douglass Boulevard in Manhattan’s Harlem neighborhood.
The third celebratory event, A Memorial Celebration of the Life of Jacques d'Amboise, will be held at New York City Center on June 1 at 7 PM. The star-studded celebration will include performances and commentary by many of his contemporaries, New York City ballet principal dancers, the children of National Dance Institute, actors and actresses from musical theatre, and family members. Those paying tribute to Mr. d’Amboise will include his children, Christopher and Charlotte d'Amboise, Vicki Reiss, Daniel Ulbricht, Liz Larsen and Sal Viviano, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Tiler Peck and Roman Mejia, Chita Rivera, and many more. Tickets to the memorial celebration may be reserved at NationalDance.org beginning May 12.