|Carolyn Adams was born in New York City and raised in Harlem. Her father was managing editor of the AMSTERDAM NEWS, and her mother pursued a career as a writer, pianist, and composer.
Adams studied at the Martha Graham School and attended Sarah Lawrence College. When she joined the Paul Taylor Dance Company in 1965, she was the company's only black member. Adams distinguished herself during her years with Taylor. Her particular qualities as a dancer enhanced Taylor's eclectic style of choreography, which emphasized momentum and each dancer's individual talent. The petite Adams demonstrated a gift for lightness and speed.
Adams gained worldwide recognition as a dancer and taught dance composition in London and Denmark. In 1969, while still active as a performer, Adams, with her sister Julie Adams Strandberg, also a dancer, founded the Harlem Dance Foundation. The multipurpose school and center for community preservation and restoration was originally located in the family's historic brownstone residence and eventually expanded into a second Harlem brownstone. Adams divided her time between developing the school and pursuing her interest in brownstone preservation and landmark designation.
-- Julinda Lewis-Ferguson