Tavis Smiley: Dance Legend Carmen de Lavallade on Opportunity for Black Ballerinas Then vs. Now

Tonight I'm joined by legendary stage performer Carmen de Lavallade. The iconic dancer, who has performed on Broadway, at the Met and with greats like Alvin Ailey, and of course, her late husband Geoffrey Holder, walks in a proud line. Janet Collins, her cousin, was the first -- and to this day, over 60 years later, the only -- African-American full-time Prima Ballerina at the Metropolitan Opera. De Lavallade recently starred in an autobiographical one-woman show, titled As I Remember It, which chronicled some of her most personal and artistic achievements.

A fixture in the dance and theater world for over six decades, de Lavallade helped pave the way for current stars like Misty Copeland and Michaela DePrince. In the clip below, I ask whether she carries any sentiments of resentment about the lack of opportunity for black dancers when she came up as opposed to today.

For more of our conversation, be sure to tune in to Tavis Smiley on PBS. Check our website for your local TV listings: www.pbs.org/tavis.