Millie Donay and Cuban Pete dance the mambo in the Palladium at NYC in 1954.

Millie Donay (Carmela Dante DeFrancesco)
February 23, 1934 - July 16, 2007
23 de febrero del 1934 al 16 de julio del 2007


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The world mourns the loss of one of America’s pioneer female Latin dance legends, Millie Donay (Carmela Dante DeFrancesco), who succumbed to colon cancer Monday, July 16, 2007, in New Jersey.

Millie met Cuban Pete at the Palladium Ballroom around 1950, and there was instant chemistry, so much so that she asked him to dance. Initially a phenomenal Lindy Hopper, he taught her the Mambo and the clave, to which she added jazzy Lindy moves, and the rest is Latin dance history.

Dancing to the fiery sounds of all the major Latin bands, Cuban Pete and Millie electrified the world with their daring, innovative rhythmic moves and custom, original routines, catapulting the Mambo to an international craze. Every Wednesday night, hordes of people flocked to the Palladium Ballroom on 54th and Broadway, to watch their scintillating Mambo, double Mambo, Rumba, and the sexy, steamy Guajira, danced to Love for Sale. Millie is most famous for her creation of body rolls, especially one where she turned her back to the audience as she tapped her derriere. No one has since been able to perfect that particular move - it brought the house down! This dynamic duo put Latiin dance on the map!


They performed at Carnegie Hall, The Apollo Theater, Waldorf Astoria, Copacabana, Astor Hotel, the Latin Quarter in Boston with Xavier Cugat, and Madison Square Garden for Israeli President Ben Gurion. They appeared in the film, “Mambo Madness,” were featured in LIFE magazine, appeared on the Nat King Cole Telethon, Art Raymond Poncho Show, the José Curbelo Show, and toured for Arthur Murray Dance Studios training their Latin department. They danced in nightclubs from coast-to-coast, and in Canada, achieving international stardom. They danced in the Catskill Mountains, at all of the major hotels, in jamborees and exhibitions, and every Thursday night at Cory’s, receiving thunderous applause and standing ovations.

Cuban Pete and Millie parted ways in 1956, but remained friends through the years. They have one daughter, Denise, named after their good friend, actress Denise Darcel.


After a short solo career, during which time she fronted Perez Prado in Las Vegas. From 1957-1960, she paired with Marilyn Winters, creating the first and only two-woman, side-by-side Latin dance team.

Millie returned to dancing solo before meeting and marrying Michael Dante DeFrancesco, with whom she had three sons. In 1992, she appeared and co-choreographed with Cuban Pete in the film, “Mambo Kings,” and a special event at the Nevele Hotel. She participated in Latin dance panels, quorums, television documentaries, and hosted Latin dance events in the Northeast region.


She is survived by her daughter, Denise Gerard, sons Joseph, Michael, and Anthony DeFrancesco, daughters-in-law Tammy and Kelly, granddaughters Gina Gerard, Jordan, Nicole and Carmelina DeFrancesco, and grandsons Michael and Raymond DeFrancesco.

A private service will be held Saturday, July 21, 2007. There will be a Memorial held in her honor in New York City in the near future, details to follow. In lieu of flowers, family members request donations be made in her memory to:


Side Street Kids
1310 Unionport Road
Bronx, New York 10462
Attn: Toni & Carlos Mendoza
Tel: 718-595-1000
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Harbor Conservatory
Latin Dance Program
One East 104th Street
New York, New York 10029
Attn: Nina Olsen
Tel: 212-427-2244, ext. 577
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Condolences to her family may be sent to:

Ms. Denise Gerard
19 Oregon Avenue
Jackson, NJ 08527
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
El mundo llora la pérdida de uno de los pionero de América Latina mujer danza leyendas, Millie Donay (Carmela Dante DeFrancesco), que sucumbió al cáncer de colon lunes, 16 de julio de 2007, en Nueva Jersey.

Millie de Cuban Pete en el Palladium Ballroom reunió alrededor de 1950, y hubo química instantánea, tanto es así que le preguntó a bailar. Inicialmente un fenomenal Lindy Hopper, él le enseñó Historia de la danza el Mambo y la clave, al que añadió jazzy moves Lindy y el resto es Latina.

Bailando al ritmo ardiente de todas las principales bandas latinas, Cuban Pete y Millie habían electrificado el mundo con sus movimientos rítmicos audaces, innovadoras y rutinas personalizadas, originales, catapultando el Mambo a una manía internacional. Cada miércoles por la noche, hordas de personas acudidas al Palladium Ballroom en 54 y Broadway, para ver su Mambo centelleante, doble Mambo, Rumba y la Guajira sexy, hot, bailaban al amor para la venta. Millie es famosa por su creación de rollos del cuerpo, especialmente uno donde ella dio vuelta la espalda a la audiencia como ella había aprovechado su derriere. Desde entonces nadie ha sido capaz perfeccionar esa medida particular - trajo la casa! Este dúo dinámico puso danza Latiin en el mapa!

Actuaron en el Carnegie Hall, The Apollo Theater, Waldorf Astoria, Copacabana, el Latin Quarter de Boston con Xavier Cugat y el Madison Square Garden, Astor Hotel para Presidente israelí Ben Gurion. Aparecieron en la película, "Mambo Madness", aparecieron en la revista LIFE, apareció en la Teletón de Nat King Cole, Art Raymond Poncho Show, el José Curbelo Show y recorrió Arthur Murray Dance Studios formación su Departamento Latino. Bailaron en discotecas de costa a costa y en Canadá, alcanzar el estrellato internacional. Bailaban en las montañas de Catskill, en todos los principales hoteles, en jamborees y exposiciones y cada jueves por la noche a Cory’s, recibiendo aplausos estruendosos y ovaciones.

Cuban Pete y Millie separaron en 1956, pero seguía siendo amigos a través de los años. Tienen una hija, Denise, bautizada con su buen amigo, actriz Denise Darcel.

Después de una corta carrera como solista, durante ese tiempo ella frente a Pérez Prado en Las Vegas. Desde 1957-1960, ella junto con Marilyn Winters, crear el equipo de la primera y única mujer de los dos, side-by-side baile latino.

Millie regresó solo a bailar antes de conocer y casarse con Michael Dante DeFrancesco, con quien tuvo tres hijos. En 1992, ella apareció y co-choreographed con Cuban Pete en la película "Mambo Kings" y un evento especial en el Nevele Hotel. Ella participó en paneles de baile latino, quórum, documentales de televisión y organizó eventos de baile latino en la región noreste.

Sobreviven su hija, Denise Gerard, hijos de Joseph, Michael y Anthony DeFrancesco, nueras Tammy y Kelly, nietas Gina Gerard, Jordan, Nicole y Carmelina DeFrancesco y nietos Miguel y Raymond DeFrancesco.

Sábado, 21 de julio de 2007 se celebrará un servicio privado. Habrá un Memorial celebrado en su honor en la ciudad de Nueva York en un futuro cercano, detalles a seguir. En lugar de flores, realizar donaciones de petición de miembros de la familia en su memoria para:

Side Street Kids
1310 Unionport Road
Bronx, New York 10462
Attn: Toni & Carlos Mendoza
Tel: 718-595-1000
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Harbor Conservatory
Latin Dance Program
One East 104th Street
New York, New York 10029
Attn: Nina Olsen
Tel: 212-427-2244, ext. 577
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Condolences to her family may be sent to:

Ms. Denise Gerard
19 Oregon Avenue
Jackson, NJ 08527
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Millie Donay

 

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