La Carmencita: A French Spanish Dancer

John Singer Sargeant’s portait of La Carmencita, which hangs in Musee d’Orsay, Paris
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.

A sign to honor la Carmencita near the site of the old Koster and Bial’s, West 34th Street. Pic taken by me in 2018

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 presentconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famousavailable at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.


And don’t miss my new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from etc etc etc


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