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Arts Award Spotlight: Carole Alexis

Each year, ArtsWestchester recognizes people and organizations that have impacted the arts and culture in Westchester. All awardees are honored at the organization’s annual Arts Awards luncheon, this year taking place at the Brae Burn Country Club in Purchase on April 19.

Over the next several weeks, ArtsNews will highlight each Arts Award winner so readers can learn more about them. First up is choreographer Carole Alexis, winner of the Artist Award:

Carole Alexis | 2023 Artist Awardee

Carole Alexis is an internationally recognized dance choreographer, director and pedagogue who, in 2021 was bestowed one of the highest honors by the French Republic, the grade of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (induction into the “Knighthood of Arts and Letters”).  At the age of 13, Alexis was commissioned by Jean-Paul Césaire, Director of the SERMAC, a performing arts center created by Aimé Césaire, to choreograph her first major work for the Festival de Fort-de-France in Martinique. For this commission, she directed and created original choreography for a company of dancers nearly twice her age. This moment was a springboard to her illustrious career as an internationally acclaimed choreographer.

Alexis is a French-American choreographer, dance educator and multi-faceted innovator in the performing arts. In 2011, she founded her ballet company, which is currently based in White Plains. The company, Ballet des Amériques, also known as the Carole Alexis Ballet Theatre, was created to develop the tradition of classical dance for the 21st century – a globalized world of interacting cultures – with the particular aim of developing inclusive cultural communities.

Her works are rooted in French and Russian classicism, and often have a range of African and Latin American influences. For more than a decade, Alexis has brought her vision to historical theaters in Westchester, such as the Tarrytown Music Hall and the Emelin Theatre, as well as to outdoor public and private spaces in downtown White Plains and beyond. She has presented original work as part of JazzFest White Plains, celebrating the various worldly influences of music and movement.

Carole Alexis’ work fully embraces and draws on her own multicultural and multiethnic background. Her artistic work has philosophical depth, emotion, breadth and worldliness, but is also comprehensive in the way it impacts a community, from the very young to very old, in all kinds of venues and circumstances.

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