Carmencita Romero

Carmencita_RomeroCarmencita Romero

CarmencitaRomero2(February 2, 1914 – May 6, 2001)

Carmencita Romero was an American pioneer of Black Dance.  Born Lily Butler in Chicago, Illinois, Carmencita changed her name at the request of Katherine Dunham to enhance her performance career.   Ms. Romero began her training at 18 when she studied ballet and modern dance with Katherine Dunham, later adding Caribbean ethnic dance when Ms. Dunham returned from anthropological studies in the West Indies. ”I kept thinking that it was good that Daddy didn’t know what I was doing because he certainly would not have approved such dancing,” Ms. Romero said in the American Dance Festival
documentary ”Free to Dance.”

She performed with Katherine Dunham in her first company, the Negro Dance Group, in the mid-1930′s.   She began performing with Ms. Dunham in the late 1930′s, traveling with the group to New York, where she appeared in the musicals ”Cabin in the Sky” and ”Carmen Jones.”

She toured the United States with the Dunham company until 1942. In the late 40′s she returned home to Chicago and opened a dance school, then left to open others in Rome and Tokyo and to teach throughout Europe. She taught in Cuba, Italy, Japan, Spain and Germany.  She also performed in films made in Rome and London.