This book portrays the woman, explores the influences that shaped McBurnie and those whom she influenced in turn, and tells of her struggle to realize a vision she nurtured for decades.
Determined, imperious, flighty, charming, Beryl McBurnie was born in Trinidad and went to New York in the early 1940s to study dance and drama. She also made a name for herself as a dancer and singer, Belle Rosette. But she turned her back on the
bright lights to return to Trinidad. There she continued the work she had begun before World War II, researching and performing the dances of the Caribbean, especially those that drew on
African traditions. She was part of an anticolonial movement that recognized the unique culture of the country and the region and eventually led Trinidad and Tobago to independence. Artistically, McBurnie’s work influenced dancers throughout the region and beyond. She also devoted years to building the Little Carib Theatre. Intended as a home for folk dance, it also housed Derek Walcott’s Theatre Workshop and became a crucible for the performing arts.
The Caribbean Biography Series from the University of the West Indies Press celebrates and memorializes the architects of Caribbean culture. The series aims to introduce general readers to those individuals who have made sterling contributions to the region in their chosen field – literature, the arts, politics, sports – and are the shapers and bearers of Caribbean identity.
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