Dance icon Thora Dumbell laid to rest

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

A photo of Thora Dumbell on her coffin at the St Finbar’s RC Church, Morne Coco Road, Diego Martin on Thursday. Photo by Roger Jacob

FRIENDS and family remembered dancer and choreographer Thora Dumbell, known to many as “Aunty Thora”, as a woman of substance who stood for excellence.

At her funeral on Thursday morning at the St Finbar’s RC Church, Diego Martin, she was described as a mother to many.

Robert Dumbell (left), son of Thora Dumbell, leads pallbearers at the end of the funeral alongside his brother-in-law Robin Law. Photo by Roger Jacob

Dumbell died at the age of 98 on November 4.

In eulogising her, Robert Dumbell said his mother gave equally of her life and time as gifts to those she knew.

“She was a leader, teacher and mentor – a teacher of disposable wisdom and knowledge. She was humble. She was loyal to all the people she knew, she never forgot anyone’s birthday. I think even with a busy schedule, she made time for us.”

Mourners at the funeral of dancer, choreographer Thora Dumbell on Thursday at St Finbar’s RC Church, Morne Coco Road, Diego Martin. Photo by Roger Jacob

He said confidentiality and respect were two major qualities she exhibited throughout her life.

In a tribute, her nieces said she was a powerful speaker and created close bonds.

They said Dumbell believed in the healing power of dance right to the end.

“This connected us all.”

Officiating priests Monsignor Michael deVerteuil and Fr Thomas Lawson. Photo by Roger Jacob

Dumbell had been performing before crowds from as early as three years old.

She taught dance for over 60 years, and started a dance school in 1950.

The Humming Bird Medal Gold medallist also judged at children’s Carnival shows and Easter bonnet parades for many years.

Jennifer McIntosh and Gladys Pinard, past students of Thora Dumbell, speak at her funeral. Photo by Roger Jacob

Her contributions to dance education in TT played a major part in the evolution of the performing arts industry.

In his homily, Fr Thomas Lawson said Dumbell had a God-given talent.

Some of Thora Dumbell’s past students do a ballet move in the courtyard of the St Finbar’s RC Church, Morne Coco Road, Diego Martin, on Thursday. Photo by Roger Jacob

Friends and past students of dancer Thora Dumbell pay tribute to her as the hearse bearing her body leaves the St Finbafr’s RC Church, Morne Coco Road, Diego Martin on Thursday. Photo by Roger Jacob