Carmencita Daucet (circa 1870-1895) was a French native who studied and performed with a troupe of traditional Spanish dancers. Much like Lola Montez before her, she caused a sensation in the English speaking world with her bold, provocative Spanish dance moves. She and her dancers initially appeared in London in 1888 in a play called Albion, which then went to Niblo’s Garden in New York.
This led to a booking at Koster and Bial’s in 1890, where she was held over for ten weeks. For the next four years, she stayed in America, touring vaudeville throughout the Northeast and Midwest and occasionally appearing in the entr’acts of Broadway plays. She then returned to London, where audiences were a little colder to her. She passed away a year later. So great was her legend that ten years after she died Willie Hammerstein still found it profitable to hire an obscure chorus girl and present her to the public, fobbing her off as La Carmencita. Sure, but another La Carmencita!
To find out more about the variety arts past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.
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