CARMEN & GEOFFREY (Linda Atkinson & Nick Doob, 2006)
Baryshnikov Arts Center, Jerome Robbins Theater
450 West 37th St. between Ninth & Tenth Aves.
Tuesday, April 24, $15, 7:00
Carmen & Geoffrey is an endearing look at Carmen de Lavallade and Geoffrey Holder’s lifelong love affair with dance — and each other. The New Orleans-born de Lavallade studied with Lester Horton and went to high school with Alvin Ailey, whom she brought to his first dance class. Trinidadian Holder is a larger-than-life gentle giant who is a dancer, choreographer, composer, costume designer, actor director, writer, photographer, painter, and just about anything else he wants to be. The two met when they both were cast in Truman Capote and Harold Arlen’s Broadway show House of Flowers in 1954, with Holder instantly falling in love with de Lavallade; they’ve been together ever since. Directors Linda Atkinson and Nick Doob combine amazing archival footage — of Eartha Kitt, Josephine Baker, Ulysses Dove, de Lavallade dancing with Ailey, and other splendid moments — with contemporary rehearsal scenes, dance performances, and interviews with such stalwarts as dance critic Jennifer Dunning, former Alvin Ailey artistic director Judith Jamison, and choreographer Joe Layton (watch out for his eyebrows), along with family members and Gus Solomons jr and Dudley Williams, who still work with de Lavallade. The film was made on an extremely low budget, and it shows, but it is filled with such glorious footage that you’ll get over that quickly. Carmen & Geoffrey is screening April 24 at 7:00 at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, with a panel discussion to follow, as part of the “BAC Flicks” series, which continues May 30 with Matt Wolf’s 2008 documentary, Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell.