All to hail Geoffrey Holder – T&T’s Renaissance Man

Two months shy of the one-year anniversary of the passing of legendary showman Geoffrey Holder, Lincoln Center will highlight some of his excellence by celebrating his life’s work.

Beginning at 1 pm on Aug. 1 at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, a panel discussion: “The Life and Work of Geoffrey Holder” will once again put the talented Renaissance Man at center stage.

One hour later at the same venue, the documentary “Carmen & Geoffrey” will be screened.

Rare archival film footage will be added to enhance the presentation.

Prior to the screening, filmmakers Nick Doob and Linda Atkinson will explain some of the intricacies of making the film.

That session will be moderated by Geoffrey’s son, Leo Holder, and his widow and lifelong dance partner Carmen de Lavallade.

Later that evening at 7:30 pm at the Damrosch Park, the Garth Fagan Dance company will present “Carmen de Lavallade: The Creation.”

To further celebrate his spirit, Holder’s widow will perform a moving rendition of the story of creation based on a James Weldon Johnson poem suggesting life’s graceful cycle.

During the presentation Fagan’s ever-evolving dance language will “draw on the weight of modern dance, the speed and precision of ballet, the energy of Afro-Caribbean dance, and the rule-breaking experimentation of the post-moderns.”

“These elements intertwine not only in the well-loved signature pieces he will be performing, but also in a commissioned work that pays homage to Geoffrey Holder’s illustrious legacy.”

Harlem’s spirited Ebony Ecumenical Ensemble will open the evening’s program with their powerful gospel voices, celebrating African American musical heritage.

Acclaimed the one, true Broadway “Wiz” after commanding the role in the Black version of the “Wizard of Oz” Holder is revered for an exceptional career that spanned more than 50 years.

Throughout his lifetime he was also renowned for conquering a long list of titles.

He was a dancer, choreographer, painter, actor, composer, designer and to an entire generation of television viewers during the 70s and 80s “the un-cola” promoter for the soft drink 7Up.

Born in Trinidad & Tobago, Holder died Oct. 5, 2014 at age 84.

In addition to the one-day event, there is an accompanying and related exhibition at Lincoln Center that regales Holder’s legacy which transcends the fields of dance, theater, film and the visual arts.

“The Genius of Geoffrey Holder” opens on July 23 and runs until Aug. 29.

Exhibitions are open at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center, Plaza Corridor Gallery during the hours from 12 noon – 8 pm Monday and Thursday; 12 noon – 6 pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.

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