Berto Pasuka

NPG Ax183873; Berto Pasuka by Angus McBean

Berto Pasuka

(1920 — 1963)

Berto Pasuka was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1920.  At the age of 19, he traveled to London and began his journey in dance.  He had studied dance while in Jamaica and performed native songs and dances for tourists with a local troupe.

Through many personal sacrifices, Pasuka formed a dance company in London.  He recruited other Black immigrants for his company from the cafes, bars and clubs that he frequented.  This nucleus of dancers would eventually become Les Ballets Negres.  They opened on April 30, 1946, at the small Twentieth Century Theatre in London’s Bayswater district for an eight week season.

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