Carmelita Maracci

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Carmelita Maracci (July 17, 1908 – July 26, 1987) was an American concert dancer and choreographer who creatively fused ballet and Spanish dance techniques. She excelled before an experienced audience, receiving praise from dancers and critics. In the mid-1920s her performing and choreographic career began. It continued into the 1950s. She then remained influential as a Los Angeles-based teacher.


Carmelita Maracci was born in Goldfield, Nevada, the daughter of Josephine Gauss and her second husband Joseph Maracci, a gambler and restaurateur. Her German French mother was a concert level pianist. Her father, Italian and Spanish, had considered a career singing opera; his father was first cousin to Adelina Patti (1843–1919), a great star of the opera. Hence she was christened Carmelita Patti Maracci.[1][2][3] "Carmelita was brought up as Spanish." Her mother told her that she was born in Montevideo, Uruguay; Maracci only learned differently much later from her husband.[4][5]

After the family moved to San Francisco her schooling started in a convent. In Fresno she continued her dance lessons, and attended a private girls' school. In 1924, when sixteen, she relocated to Los Angeles to advance her abilities dancing.[6] "Carmie was her mother's spoiled darling." On a nine-foot Steinway her mother played, music to which "Carmie danced, from the moment she could move--danced before she could walk," according to choreographer Agnes de Mille.[7]

In the 1930s in Hollywood, the two young dancers Agnes and Carmelita hung out together. Agnes, many years later, described the situation and people:

"I found the atmosphere of the house, comforting. There was always a group of radicals, malcontents, and indigent writers, intermingled with painters and dancers, waiting to be recharged by Carmelita's personality, for she was great fun to be with."

Maracci's dancing was already special; it sparked "extravagant" rumors. "It is no ordinary experience to discover one evening that an intimate, a known, well-loved, daily companion, has genius." In her studio, the night before Maracci left for a San Francisco concert, de Mille saw her dance for the first time. She writes, "my jaw dropped". Adding, "This girl worked with thunder."[8]

New styles of dancing[edit]

In 1926 Maracci performed as a soloist at the Hollywood Bowl, through her dance teacher Ernest Belcher. In New York she studied and as a soloist toured with a dance company. Returning to California, Maracci in seclusion created a new style of dancing. In Los Angeles in 1930, she made her "debut in a program of her own works" to music by Ravel, de Falla, Granados, and Schumann, at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Auditorium. A similar New York City debut followed in 1937.[9][10][11] Her arrival in New York was troubled by her sponsor's sudden default. Yet first at the 92nd Street Y then at other theater venues, her performances were well received.

"Camelita Maracci, the fiery and brilliantly talented West Coast dancer, who combined ballet and Spanish dance" performed at the Y. "Maracci mesmerized New Yorkers with her smoldering passion and unique movement style. Here were wonderfully spiraling hands, a spine that arched proudly, and dazzling technical footwork."[12][13][14]

Maracci had studied various Spanish dances. Some of her techniques derived from baile flamenco (the dance counterpart to Cante jondo). In his 1919 ballet El Sombrero de Tres Picos (French: Le Tricorne) the Spanish composer Manuel de Falla presented classical music orchestration inspired by flamenco, and Léonide Massine had combined elements of the two dance forms.[15][16] De Falla and poet García Lorca worked to achieve the 1922 music festival Concurso de Cante Jondo, held in Granada.[17][18][19]

The innovative fusion of ballet and baile developed by Maracci, and performed, would later be included as 'hybrid dance'.[20][21] Her style of choreography and ballet art, while not itself flamenco, incorporated some of its mood, lines, and techniques.[22][23]

In Los Angeles in the late 1920s "Maracci began to experiment with choreography that was a blend of ballet and Spanish dance techniques."[24][25] From her unusual combination of the two styles emerged a singular expression. In 1946 John Martin, a dance critic at The New York Times, wrote, "Both styles are merely materials out of which she fashions an art that is altogether personal, purely subjective in its creative approach, and utterly unique."[26][27] Agnes de Mille writes:

Plainly and simply, Carmelita's best dances were the most passionate and powerfully devised solos I have ever seen. ... ¶ Her line was visually flawless. ¶ She baffled criticism because her technique fell into two categories: ballet, which, although impeccably correct, was not classic in style, and Spanish, which was virtuoso in its range but highly unorthodox in form and flavor. She had no wish to perpetuate aesthetic traditions and used only those stock gestures so deeply imbued with emotion as to have become, under her manipulation, original."[28]

Fruits of her creation[edit]

After touring with other dance troupes, in the 30s and 40s she led her own performing group appearing in quality venues across America with "a repertory of her own dances." Her touring act was considered top rung by those in the business. In 1951 in New York City, especially for the Ballet Theatre, she staged at the Metropolitan Opera House her choreographed work Circo de España, to a mixed reception. She performed at the St. James Theatre on Broadway in 1939, and Carnegie Hall in 1946.[29][30][31][32]

"Maracci's dancing was deeply personal and an innovative art form. With fiery, passionate individuality and deep political and social convictions, she created dances inspired by Goya's war drawings, García Lorca's poetry, and Unamuno's philosophy. Her dances could be satirical, witty, or flirtatious; a passionate protest of inhumanity or a celebration of human spirit, a plunge to deepest sorrow or an expression of joy."[33]

Starting in the 1930s, she received press reviews that noted her extraordinary art, e.g., in The Times of London, the Paris-Soir, and the monthly magazine Dancing Times published in England. In the 1940s John Martin of The New York Times wrote six-column reviews hailing Maracci, recognizing her as "a unique phenomenon".[34]

Maracci also worked as a choreographer in Hollywood film making, although with pause and reluctance. In 1951 for Charlie Chaplin she contributed to the dance scenes in his Limelight, released in 1952. During the war she was a source for dances in the film Three Caballeros by Walt Disney released in 1944. While "commercially successful" it was for Maracci "personally unsatisfying."[35][36][37]

In later years, "her performances, though infrequent, drew lines around the block and enthralled the audiences." Yet "Maracci freely admits that her art was not for the masses." She began rehearsals, but ultimately declined to dance the lead role in the ballet Giselle.[38] She refused to dance in a Spain ruled by Franco. [39]

Throughout her career, Maracci excelled in fashioning and performing solo dances: Cante Jondo ("Deep Song"), Viva la Madre ("Live for the one who bore you"), Dance of Elegance (a satire, "a caricature of a ballet dancer preening"), La Pasionaria (about the radio voice in war-torn Spain, a coal-miner's daughter), Another Goyescas (re Granados' piano suite per Spanish painter Francisco Goya), Carlotta Grisi in Retrospect (re the nineteenth century Italian ballet dancer), The Nightingale and the Maiden (inspired by a poem written in 1500, to music by Granados).[40][41][42][43]

"But unlike those who struggle for immortality, Maracci refused to compromise her sensibilities or her convictions. She turned away from the fame-makers and artist-merchants, often with just scant cause, and generally made herself inaccessible. By choice, she never connected with the major institutions nor lingered for long in the limelight."[44]

She was long acknowledged by admirers in the ballet world for her inner knowledge of the art. In 1985 Robert Joffrey of Joffrey Ballet said of her, "There was, and still is, no one like her. She had incredible strength and supreme delicacy. Her technique was astonishing, perfection itself... ."[45] Maracci was known, according to dance writer Walter Terry, as "one of the major dance figures of our time."[46][47]

Mid-career troubles[edit]

"Although regarded by her peers as one of the leading dancers in the United States... Maracci shrank from the concert stage after two experiences which devastated her."[48][49] In 1946 a lone drunken heckler in St. Paul, Minnesota, mocked her three dancers. They were on stage doing Maracci's choreographed tribute to the republican loyalists of the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939). She emerged from backstage quite angry, and ordered the curtain pulled down. It terminated the performance, outraged the local theater, and eventually ended her national financial backing.[50] The second event concerned the 1951 staging of her choreography Circo de España, for the Ballet Theatre in New York City. Its debut was not considered successful enough by the ballet company; it needed work.[51][52]

During the Spanish Civil War, Maracci had been greatly moved by La Pasionaria, an exceptional woman whose emotional radio oratory championed the Republican faction. Maracci's political views were strongly held; she "wanted to change the world through theater."[53] Yet she probably overreacted in St. Paul.[54] At the theater manager Maracci, according to Agnes de Mille, "let loose... the full extent of her primal rage. She attacked the man personally and all the people of St. Paul." Forty years later, in a private letter, "she still referred to 'the drunken audience jeering at Spanish heroes'."[55][56]

About her Circo de España in New York, Maracci "was told by the famed dancer Agnes de Mille that the ballet was 'no good'."[57]

According to de Mille, Maracci's performances had fascinated everyone in the ballet company, but her brilliant solo dances did not fit the larger piece when staged. The New York audience was "puzzled and not a little put off by Carmelita's austere, sardonic personality" and was "tepid in response". Oliver Smith, the co-director of Ballet Theatre, told de Mille it needed work, and to give Maracci a "pep talk" to pull the piece together. In Maracci's dressing room, the pep talk unexpectedly "produced in no time a collapse. She had to be carried out of the theater."[58]

A contrary view was expressed in a speech by dance journalist Donna Perlmutter. Although de Mille harbored an "intense admiration" for Maracci, she also had a "burning... I guess you could call it... jealousy." About the 1951 incident with Ballet Theatre, "Agnes had no small part in this." Maracci had expressly requested dance and theater conditions that were promised, but not delivered. Consequently, she felt that the Circo de España performance "wasn't a ballet but a disaster." Antony Tudor, a resident choreographer with Ballet Theatre, however, afterward made some puzzling remarks. According to Perlmutter, "reflecting on that April night... " de Mille "says she immediately told Maracci the ballet was no good, and because Maracci was always on the emotional brink, Donald Saddler carried her from the theater shortly thereafter."

"Yes, I was devastated," Maracci admitted. "Agnes can be unbearably cruel. She came to my dressing room like a matador, people on either side of her... . She came to deliver the verdict. She told me that Tudor always says what he doesn't mean, that he meant I'm no good... ."[59][60]

Beyond the dissimilar views as to how it happened, there are different commentaries on its significance.[61] The journalist Jack Jones writing about it, quotes what later "Maracci said of herself":

"People tell me my unplanned oblivion was a tragedy. ... But I say no. Save that word for human suffering, for wars that kill innocent people, for the devastation of the poor and unwanted, for the corruption and cruelty that cause these things in the world. Mine is no tragedy. If art could relieve misery, I'd gladly sacrifice it."[62][63]

Ambivalent reflections[edit]

Agnes de Mille, her former student, expressed admiration for Maracci. In her book, de Mille describes the paradox of Maracci's career. The New York Times had early "predicted international glory." True, "Carmelita had imagination, verve, energy, and fascination. What she did not have was the ability to cope with the practicalities of her career." At a setback in the late thirties in New York, she had "tongue-lashed all concerned". Collapses often are "contrived to hide flaws" yet her "talent was immaculate". Although managers want reliable clients, "anyone who prefers practical cooperation to genius is a fool." To build a great career, however, takes realistic courage, and a steadfast character; "those with a great gift generally have in their character a certain instinctive protection of the endowment." Here, "Carmie was a tragic exception."[64][65][66]

Donna Perlmutter, Los Angeles journalist who followed her career, quotes Maracci who here is musing on her own soul's passage, her inner constellation:

"The terrain I've traveled led me into Goya's land of terror and blood soaked pits... ." Accordingly, "I could not be a dancer of fine dreams and graveyard decor. So I danced hard about what I saw and lived. I was not an absentee landlord. I was one of the dispossessed."[67][68][69]

After interviews, especially of the husband Lee Freeson, and years of research, Perlmutter comes to layered conclusions. Her fate was a tragedy. The great gifts she possessed and crafted in the dance arts were enjoyed for the most part by a few hundreds of knowledgeable people in the City of Los Angeles, rather than by multitudes of aficionados nationwide, worldwide. Yet her fate was born of her character, her compass of principles. Perlmutter from a podium said:

"In literal terms, she Carmelita knew only privilege and doting parents, and never encountered a land of terror and blood soaked pits. Hers was purely a case of identification with its victims, an overt rallying to their cause, an imaginative leap. At its most profound, she tapped a kinship based on interior terror and ravaged spirit."[70]

However hard and durable was her perfectionist spirit, and however vital her anger at intentional cruelty or political mayhem, her corresponding sensitivity for the victims, which might fuel her artistic expression, also might cause her to be vulnerable as well, even surprisingly fragile. It led her perhaps to be apprehensive before an ill prepared, unsuspecting audience.[71][72][73] On the other hand, it was the very strength of her principles that guided her in appraising offers to perform.[74][75]

Teaching the ballet arts[edit]

"Her reputation attracted students" whether the young or the professional dancer. For Maracci "teaching gave her more autonomy." She had offered instruction in ballet since the 1930s, but it became her focus as she approached her fiftieth year. "Her teaching included politics, poetry, music, and cooking, as a way to nurture the art of dance as an integral part of the student's journey of life."[76][77] "She lived in a world of people who came to sit at her feet."[78]

Over a teaching career spanning 50 years, among others Maracci taught Gerald Arpino, Joan Bayley, Erik Bruhn, Leslie Caron, William Carter, Charlie Chaplin, Geraldine Chaplin, Janet Collins, Carmen de Lavallade, Agnes de Mille, Paul Godkin, Cynthia Gregory, Allegra Kent, Julie Newmar, Tommy Rall, Tina Ramirez, Jerome Robbins, Janice Rule, Donald Saddler, and Christine Sarry.[79][80][81][82] She was a major influence on Los Angeles dance teacher, Irina Kosmovska.[83]

Cynthia Gregory remembers her teaching class "on pointe and wearing pink tights puffing a cigarette, flicking it out the window and dashing off a fast, furious set of pirouettes."[84] "I think that a technique should be subordinated to the idea," Carmelita wrote.[85]

Tina Ramirez, the founder and artistic director of Ballet Hispanico, called Maracci a "fabulous dancer" who could "dance ballet on pointe" as well as she could in a Spanish style. She sought in her teaching to "influence the overall well-being" of her students. In "imaginative ways" Maracci related "the history of dance to that of music." She might say, "And now do an arabesque as if you were standing on top of the world looking down."[86]

Allegra Kent writes, "As a teacher Carmelita was able to impart and illuminate... the ineffable qualities as well as the technical points of ballet." She treated me as an imaginative child, celebrated my learning, and taught me "that dancing can be a profound experience for the performer and the audience alike." She was generous. "Carmelita showed me that feelings and emotions had to be genuine, not put on like a spangled dress for a party." Dancers listened to the music. "Somewhat like an athlete but also as an artist, we had to paint sound and sculpt rhythm."[87]

"Passionately opinionated, Miss Maracci taught classes with a Socratic tinge, including talk of politics and the other arts of the time. She continued teaching during her last illness by gathering students around her bedside to talk with them of the art of ballet," wrote dance journalist Jennifer Dunning.[88] A longtime student remarked, "Every class of hers was really a performance."[89]

A centennial event celebrating Maracci's birth was held on September 28, 2008, in Los Angeles.[90]


  1. ^ Elspeth Kuang (2005), pp. 411–412, at 411, re birth and parents.
  2. ^ Carmelita Maracci Papers, re her parents, Adelina Patti, her name.
  3. ^ Jack Jones (1987) writes, "She was christened Adelina Patti Maracci, but took the name Carmelita early in her dancing career."
  4. ^ Agnes de Mille (1990), p. 54 (second husband, birth place, Montevideo); p. 57 (quote: as Spanish).
  5. ^ Carmelita Maracci Papers: her paternal grandmother was from Montevideo.
  6. ^ Kuang (2005), her schooling, to Los Angeles with her German grandmother.
  7. ^ de Mille (1990), p. 54 (earliest dancing to mother's piano, quotes). She "never mentioned her father," de Mille opines.
  8. ^ de Mille (1990), pp. 54, 55, 56 (quotes). "The dance she showed me was her 'Cante Jondo' or 'Deep Song'" (p. 56). De Mill then quotes several paragraphs from her contemporary notes (pp. 56–57; also pp. 51–53 on how Maracci danced).
  9. ^ Kuang (2005), re H. Bowl, NY study and tour, L.A. debut, N.Y.C. 1937. Maracci's teachers: Hippolita Mora, Helba Huara (Spanish), and Enrico Zanfretta and Luigi Albertieri (ballet).
  10. ^ Carmelita Maracci Papers, debut quote.
  11. ^ Cf. Carmelita Maracci website: list of her performances.
  12. ^ Jackson (2000), pp. 123–124 (her troubled arrival), 124 (pictured), 125 (her dance performance, quotes). New York's Dance Observer praised her. The 92nd St. Y was then becoming a center for modern dance. Maracci is twice included among "little known artists" (pp. 123, 125).
  13. ^ Kuang (2005), at the 92nd Street Y Maracci danced before an audience of "artists and intellectuals".
  14. ^ Joan Bayley website, "Carmelita was never purely ballet, she was very experimental. We did lots of avant-garde and a lot of things heavily influenced by Spanish dance." In the late 1930s Bayley and other students accompanied Maracci on dancing tours, including to New York.
  15. ^ Lynn Garafola (1989) at 88-90 (de Falla's early flamenco dance projects). His Le Tricorne (The Three-cornered Hat) was choreographed by Léonide Massine, with stage designs by Pablo Picasso, and produced by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in 1919 (pp. 88, 243, 253).
  16. ^ Léonide Massine (1968), pp. 114–118, 122: describes the flamenco and Spanish origin of both the music and the dance in Le Tricorne.
  17. ^ Molina Fajardo (1998), pp. 49–50; cf. 169–175, 177–208, 209–226. De Falla favored the appellation 'Cante jondo', and made a point of only calling the debased versions of the music 'flamenco' (Molina, p. 173, quoting de Falla (1922)). Maracci apparently followed de Falla's special terminology, not using the word 'flamenco'.
  18. ^ Cf. Álvarez Caballero (1994, 1998), pp. 213–214: de Falla attributes higher musical qualities to 'Cante Jondo' and distinguishes it from other song types included in what "common people call flamenco" ['el vulgo llama flamencos'].
  19. ^ de Falla (1922), in Molina (1998), pp. 209–226, quote at 212.
  20. ^ Snodgrass (2015), p. 153, here citing de Falla's ballet El Amor Brujo and "the flamenco posture [of] concert dancer Carmelita Maracci... ."
  21. ^ Perlmutter (1985), "[S]he refused to perform onstage a ballet from the repertory or an authentic Spanish dance--although her command of both was formidable. She called herself 'a hybrid' and created her own highly individual, interstylistic works."
  22. ^ Cf. Kuang (2005), e.g., zapateado, castanets, Cante jondo.
  23. ^ Joan Bayley (website), 'Early life and training': in the 1930s Bayley performed a 'flamenco' dance number taught her by Maracci, whose classes included heel work, hand clapping, and castanets.
  24. ^ Jennifer Dunning (1987): debuts, Spanish dance quote.
  25. ^ de Mille (1990), p. 54. Her teachers: Mora (Spanish), Zanfretta, and Albertieri (ballet) in New York during the late 1920s.
  26. ^ John Martin in 1946, quoted by Dunning (1987).
  27. ^ Cf. John Martin writing in 1937 on Maracci's fusion style, at Carmelita Maracci website: Homage.
  28. ^ de Mille (1990), p. 58 ("Carmelita's best dances" quote). "The Nightingale and the Maiden from Enrique Granados's Goyescas" was her dance creation "which Jerome Robbins described to me as the most beautiful solo dance he had ever seen. In this dance Carmie's castanets made the sounds of the bird's song... ." (p. 57).
  29. ^ Dunning (1987), "repertory" quote, some of her touring done "under aegis of Sol Hurok", Circo staged.
  30. ^ Perlmutter (1985), in concert series that included Artur Schnabel and Pablo Casals.
  31. ^ Kuang (2005), NYC venues.
  32. ^ Carmelita Maracci Papers, reception re Circo de Espana'; see also "Mid-career" section below.
  33. ^ Kuang (2005), pp. 411–412, p. 412 (quote).
  34. ^ Perlmutter (1985), press reports.
  35. ^ Kuang (2005), Limelight and Three Caballeros, quote. She declined to be listed in the credits, but Chaplin insisted.
  36. ^ Perlmutter (1985): when Herbert Ross asked to use her name in his 1977 film about the world of ballet in New York City The Turning Point she refused, but was included as "Carmelita".
  37. ^ Cf. Joan Bayley website, re her dancers for de Mille's 1936 film Romeo and Juliet.
  38. ^ Perlmutter (1985), two quotes, Giselle.
  39. ^ Kuang (2005), refuses: Franco.
  40. ^ Kuang (2005), her dances, the poem.
  41. ^ de Mille (1990), p. 57, dances; quote: "a savage satire, an animalistic, savage caricature of a ballet dancer preening".
  42. ^ Carmelita Maracci website.
  43. ^ Allegra Kent (2001), quotes from a Los Angeles program's description of The Nightingale and the Maiden: "The Maja, her gay frivolity gone, is portrayed in somber hues of sorrow, and finds through her castanets an affinity with the nightingale."
  44. ^ Perlmutter (1985), immortality quote
  45. ^ Jones (1987), Joffrey quote.
  46. ^ Dunning (1987), Terry quote.
  47. ^ Cf. Carmeliita Maracci website: titles of her dances and choreography.
  48. ^ Donna Perlmutter, quoted in Jones (1987). Perlmutter in 1985 wrote a 'Calendar profile' of Carmelita Maracci for The Los Angeles Times.
  49. ^ Dunning (1987), the two events.
  50. ^ de Mille (1990), pp. 61, 62 (1946 St. Paul event, Sol Hurok).

    "One night in St. Paul a lone drunk... rose and began to burlesque the dances, prancing up and down the aisles. The audience welcomed the diversion and started to call out encouragement and laugh." de Mille, p. 61.

  51. ^ Carmelita Maracci Papers: "In 1951, Maracci choreographed Circo de Espana for Ballet Theatre, and she danced the lead on opening night. The ballet met with a mixed reception but remained in the repertoire for a time." [The Cuban dancer Alicia Alonso stepped in for Maracci after the first night's performance.]
  52. ^ de Mille (1990), pp. 60–61 (1951 Circo event in NYC). De Mille writes that it was she who successfully suggested that "Ballet Theatre produce a suite of Carmelita's dances" (p. 60).
  53. ^ Kuang (2005), p. 412, quote, La Pasionara.
  54. ^ Perlmutter (1985), describes a dauntingly difficult venue, even absent the "lone drunk" provocation: "It was 1946 and a crowd of 14,000 filled the sports stadium/makeshift concert hall. ... The postage-stamp piano had 10 keys missing."
  55. ^ de Mille (1990), pp. 61–62 (St. Paul incident), quotes at 62; La Pasionara at p. 57. Expresses same anger in [1986] letter to de Mille (p. 66, cf. 65). Not telling her husband, Lee Freeson, who handled the payroll, Maracci had others "send half the box office receipts to the Spanish refugees" (p. 61).
  56. ^ Carmelita Maracci Papers re 1946 event in St. Paul: "It was a traumatic experience for Maracci... , particularly after Agnes de Mille alluded to the incident in her [1962] book To a Young Dancer."
  57. ^ Jones (1987), "no good" quote.
  58. ^ de Mille (1990), pp. 60–61: NYC debut, pep talk. de Mille was a member of Ballet Theatre (later the American Ballet Theatre).
  59. ^ Perlmutter video at youtube, 7:11–7:24 (admiration, jealousy); 11:40 (no small part); 12:55–15:25 (Circo de España incident).
  60. ^ Some of Perlmutter's oral remarks at the 2008 Centenary celebration drew from her 1985 article.
  61. ^ See section "Ambivalent reflections".
  62. ^ Jones (1987), Maracci quote.
  63. ^ According to Perlmutter (video at 6:10-7:00), Maracci 'gave' this quote to Agnes de Mille.
  64. ^ de Mille (1990), pp. 58–65. Career paradox and NYT quote at p. 58, "imagination, verve" quote at pp. 58–59, "tongue-lash" quote at p. 59, "talent" quote at p. 64, "genius" quote at p. 63, "instinctive" quote at p. 63, "exception" quote p. 64.
  65. ^ de Mille wrote to Carmelita that she and other dance professionals, Jerome Robbins and Martha Graham, had had psychiatric analysis and recommend it. Maracci was greatly offended, taking it as "wickedly mocking"; the fault was public taste and venal managers. She retired from the stage. de Mille, Portrait Gallery (1990), pp. 64–65, at 64 (quote).
  66. ^ Joan Bayley, her young student in the 1930s, writes at her website:

    "She was her own worst enemy. ... Such a difficult person. ... She had a temper and was very opinionated. She had tremendous technique. Yet so few people ever saw her. ... But she was wonderful too!"

  67. ^ Perlmutter video at youtube, 7:55–8:05 (terrain quote).
  68. ^ de Mille (1963), p. 165 (terrain quote).
  69. ^ Cf. de Mille (1990), pp. 56–57, describing Maracci's dancing:

    "Then, like the splitting of wood, the earth-anger erects her and throws her out into space. She wrecks herself against the surface of the world. ... She spikes at the ground with her heels. ... She can kick up the ground all right! ¶ This is a punishment. This is the anger of the dust, the wrath of the grave. The weakening pulse shudders through her body. Her eyes roll back--her fear becomes audible. 'Ay!' she cries, and her teeth cannot hold the quivering lips. 'Ay!'"

  70. ^ Perlmutter video at youtube, 7:41 (tragedy); 8:52–9:10 (graveyard decor); 9:39–10:05 (privilege, leap, terror).
  71. ^ Carmelita Maracci Papers. "[A]ccording to her husband, [Maracci] had deep fears of performing... ."
  72. ^ Perlmutter video at youtube, 14:49–15:17. "She did live in those 'blood soaked pits,' in her, in her mind, in her heart, in her soul. She was ravaged with fear. ... That's why the whole world didn't know her."
  73. ^ Jones (1987): Audiences, said Bella Lewitzky, "weren't ready for her dramatic insights into the human condition."
  74. ^ Kuang (1955), she was "incapable of compromising her principles for financial gain, which limited her performing."
  75. ^ Perlmutter (1985), she avoided "fame-makers and artist-merchants."
  76. ^ Kuang (2005), p. 412: quotes.
  77. ^ de Mille (1990), pp. 54–55, 66. Among her talents: cooking, drawing, dress design. She "showed me how to enjoy a city when one had no money at all" (p. 55).
  78. ^ Perlmutter, dance journalist, quoted in Dunning (1987).
  79. ^ Jones (1987), students.
  80. ^ Dunning (1987), students.
  81. ^ Carmelita Maracci website, students.
  82. ^ Joan Bayley website. Maracci "turned down a lot of movie stars who came to her school wanting to take private lessons, even though she was struggling and needed the money."
  83. ^ Kosmovska danced with Maracci's touring troupe. She taught John Clifford, Darci Kistler, Damian Woetzel, and directed Clifford's Los Angeles Ballet.
  84. ^ Denning (1987), pirouettes quote.
  85. ^ de Mille (1990), p. 65 (quote). Students attributed their "steel and brilliance" to Maracci.
  86. ^ Amove (2009), Chapter 7 "Modern Dance Masters", section "Characteristics".
  87. ^ Allegra Kent (2001), quotes.
  88. ^ Dunning (1987), teaching quote.
  89. ^ Perlmutter, quoted by Dunning (1987).
  90. ^ Carmelita Maracci website.


  • Agnes de Mille, "Carmelita Maracci" chapter in Portrait Gallery. Artists, impresarios, intimates (Boston: Houghton Mifflin 1990).
  • Jennifer Dunning, "Carmelita Maracci, a Ballet Instructor and Choreographer", Obituary, The New York Times, August 3, 1987.
  • Jack Jones, "Carmelita Maracci, the Dancers' Dancer, Dies", The Los Angeles Times, July 30, 1987.
  • Allegra Kent, "Carmelita Maracci" in Dance Magazine, January 1, 2001, at The Free Library (website).
  • Elspeth Kuang, "Carmelita Maracci" in Susan Ware and Stacy Braukman, editors, Notable American Women. A biographical dictionary. Completing the twentieth century, volume 5 (Harvard University 2005).
  • Donna Perlmutter, "A Legend's 'Unplanned Oblivion'," in The Los Angeles Times, April 21, 1985.
  • Nancy Reynolds, "Carmelita Maracci" in Selma Cohen, editor, The International Encyclopedia of Dance (Oxford University 1998).
  • Jane Wollman Rusoff, "Celebrating Carmelita Maracci, who 'took the girdle off ballet'", The New York Times, May 22, 2017.
    • Carmelita Maracci Papers (website).
    • Carmelita Maracci (website).
  • Ángel Alvarez Caballero, El cante flamenco (Madrid: Alianza Editorial 1994, 1998).
  • Robert F. Amove, Talent Abounds. Profiles of master teachers and peak performers (New York: Rutledge 2009).
  • Manuel de Falla, El 'Cante Jondo' {Canto primitivo andaluz} (Granada: Editorial Urania 1922).
  • Agnes de Mille, The book of the Dance (London: Paul Hamlyn 1963),
  • Lynn Garafola, Diaghilev's Ballets Russes (Oxford University 1989).
  • Naomi Jackson, Converging Movements. Modern Dance and Jewish Culture at the 92nd Street Y (Wesleyan University 2000).
  • Léonide Massine, My Life in Ballet (London: Macmillan 1968).
  • Eduardo Molina Fajardo, Manuel de Falla y El 'Cante Jondo' (Universidad de Granada 1962, 2d ed. 1998).
  • Mary Ellen Snodgrass, The Encyclopedia of World Ballet (Rowman and Littlefield 2015), "Hybrid Ballet".
    • Joan Bayley (website).

External links[edit]