Born on 1932 – Died on April 10, 2014

Eddy Thomas


Eddy Thomas, Co-Founder of the NDTC, was not only a dancer and choreographer with the Company, he was also a musician, costume and set designer, and commercial artist. In 1958 he founded and directed the Eddy Thomas Workshop, with branches in Kingston and Mandeville, which acted as a foremost training ground for the development of legendary Jamaican artists. His four years with Ivy Baxter developed into a partnership in which he acted as dancer, costume director, or composer and Baxter as choreographer. Works that grew out of the cooperative effort, such as Rat Passage, Seven Stages, Once Upon a Seaweed, were all artistic successes in Jamaica. He played the lead in two Jamaican pantomimes and choreographed several musicals, including Finian’s Rainbow. In 1959, Thomas won the Jamaican government Arts Council Award and studied in New York and at the Connecticut College Dance Festival in New London with Martha Graham and other modern dance exponents such as Merce Cunningham and José Limón. He joined the Graham company for a season on Broadway and later returned to Broadway with Kwamina, choreographed by Agnes De Mille. Thomas returned to Jamaica to coproduce Roots and Rhythms with Rex Nettleford in celebration of the nation’s thrust toward Independence and to help establish the National Dance Theatre Company. He choreographed memorable works including Legend of Lovers’ Leap, A Time to Rejoice, Foot Notes in Jazz, Afro West Indian Suite, Games of Arms, Liza, And It Came To Pass, Concert Suite, Country Wedding, Parade Kingston 13, Jamaican Promenade and Omegan Procession. As a costume designer, he had a sensitive grasp of the colours of tropical Jamaica and was responsible for most of the costume designs for the Company’s repertoire.