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Dance Heritage Coalition


Romainian Folk Dance Collection (Popescu-Judetz, Georghe and Eugenia, collectors)



Gheorghe Popescu-Judetz (1911-1972) was born in the village of Beleti-Negre_ti, Muscel district, in the Muntenia region of Romania. He became interested in folk dancing as a teenager, and began performing as principal dancer with amateur ensembles in Bucharest. He obtained degrees from several universities, and entered the teaching profession. In the 1930s and 1940s he was leader of and dancer with a number of organizations, including Asocia_ia Alunelul, the Dance Group of Liga Cultural_ Association, and the soldier dancers from the 30th Dorobantzi Army Unit. Gheorghe toured with some of these groups nationally and abroad. From 1949 to 1966, he was the choreographer and director of the CiocÓrlia Ensemble dance group, and made a number of foreign tours with them. Throughout the years, he also served as guest choreographer for other dance groups, professor of folk dance at various schools and seminars, and jury member at national folk arts competitions. In 1948 he married Eugenia Marisescu, who became his dance partner and research associate. In 1950 they won first prize in the International Folk Dance Competition in Prague for excellence in character dance performance.

Early in his career, Gheorghe became fascinated with his country's abundance of folk dances. Consequently, he dedicated his life to compiling a complete catalog and ethnographic description of all Romanian dances and variations. With no formal ethnographic training, he conducted extensive fieldwork throughout Romania between 1949 and 1972, often accompanied by a music transcriber, costume designer, ensemble dancers, and Eugenia. He published some of his research in ten books on folk dance (see "Related Publications") as well as in many journal and magazine articles. Gheorghe received numerous artistic awards throughout his life, and was honored in 1957 with the title, Artist Emeritus of Romania, for his work in the field of folk dance.

Eugenia Popescu-Judetz (1925-) was born in Giurgiu, a town on the Danube river in the Muntenia region of Romania. Although she trained in classical ballet as a child, Eugenia always had an interest in folk dance, which increased after she married. In her early career, she was a professional dancer and folk dance teacher with the National Theatre Ballet of Bucharest, performed with the Opera Theater, and taught dance in the High School of the Arts and in the Folk Ensemble of Bucharest. For a time she conducted research with the Romanian Folk Lore Institute, which gave her valuable training for future fieldwork. From 1954 to 1970 she was ballet master and choreographer of the Perinitza Folk Ensemble and toured internationally with them. Throughout these years, she taught workshops for folk dance instructors and amateur choreographers, created many choreographies for film and television, conducted field research, and lectured in Europe.

As part of a cultural exchange program, Eugenia traveled to the United States in the late 1960s to teach Romanian folk dance workshops. In 1973, she returned to the United States on an invitation from the Duquesne University Tamburitzans in Pittsburgh, PA. She became an adjunct professor at Duquesne and continued to teach and choreograph for the Tamburitzans. Eugenia received a master of arts degree in theology from Duquesne University and a doctorate in theatre criticism from the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of numerous articles and books and continues to pursue intellectual interests.

For more detailed biographical information on the Popescu-Judetzes, see folder 16, "Curriculum vitae," and folder 196, "Oral history interview."