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Beryl McBurnie

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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.

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.

122 pages, Hardcover

Published January 1, 2018

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Judy Raymond

13 books3 followers

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Displaying 1 - 3 of 3 reviews
Profile Image for Debbie Boucher.
Author 5 books11 followers
May 16, 2019
Not sure you'll want to rush out to get a copy of this book, even though I enjoyed it as I continue to conduct research about Trinidad during World War II. Those of you my age probably danced the limbo at some point. I even remember singing The Banana Boat song popularized by Harry Belafonte in the 1950s. Dance and music from the Caribbean was embraced by Americans at that time, and while those on the east coast still flock to the West Indies for vacations (the way west coasters flock to Hawaii and Mexico), Caribbean culture is not well understood in California. The book I write is motivated by the discovery that American soldiers all but occupied Trinidad during WWII during the Battle of the Atlantic when German U boats were wreaking havoc. As I continue my research, I discover how much more to the story there is than that. Judy Raymond's book adds great texture and context to that time.
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