Limbo queen Nydia Byron dies

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Nydia Byron in 1992 on tour with Skiffle in Europe –

The creative and cultural communities are mourning limbo queen Nydia Byron, who died on Tuesday.

She was renowned for her fire-bar limbo dancing and won the TUCO National Limbo Champion title for three straight years, from 1998-2000.

Byron learned her craft from limbo dance pioneer Julia Edwards. She performed with the Malick Folk Performing Company for many years.

In 2001, she, along with Kimmy Stoute-Robinson and Natalie Joseph-Settle, joined the cast of UniverSoul Circus, America’s first black-owned circus, which features one-of-a-kind performances from around the world. In the year she joined, the circus did its first international tour to Johannesburg, South Africa.

Nydia Byron at Soiree After de Mas by Vaughnette Bigford on February 17, 2024 –

She performed with 3canal’s dance troupe and operated FireQueen Productions, which provided dance routines and folk dancers for stage shows and corporate events as well as limbo workshops.

Malick Folk Performing Company secretary Jemma Jordan said this was a sad time for the company.

“We remember Nydia’s contribution as being one of our earliest limboists when the group was formed. Because of her ability, not only as a dancer, but her speciality as a limboist, Malick became a household name and was known for limbo, not only in TT, but Nydia travelled with us internationally doing the limbo.

“When she went to UniverSoul Circus, she always mentioned she was a product of Malick Folk Performing Company. She introduced the limbo to the circus and from then till now, the limbo is an integral part of what they call the Caribbean section in the circus.”

Jordan said Byron trained quite a few of the young dancers in the company. She said they would hold on to the happy memories.

Nydia Byron, Emancipation Day 2023 –

“We lost our founder in January, and now Nydia, but we hold on to the fond memories we have of her. She was a live wire and lived life. What we’re happy about is that she lived life to the fullest, loved to play mas and did so up to this year. We remember her in her costume, coming down and having a good time.”We say may her soul rest in eternal peace.”

Jordan thanked Byron for her contribution to culture in Trinidad and Tobago, the UniverSoul Circus in the US, and internationally.

Founder and captain of TCL Skiffle Bunch steelband Junia Regrello said Byron performed with the band on tour in Rome for the Festival of Columbus in 1992.

“She became a regular member of Skiffle’s touring team. We covered Europe several times as well as Malaysia and Singapore, where she stunned her audiences with her limbo skills.

“She didn’t stop there, as she became a member of our Panorama band as a bass player, making the back-and-forth trips nightly to Coffee Street from Port of Spain regularly for rehearsals.”

He said his wife also had fond memories of her.

“When my wife Kamla accompanied Malick Folk Performers to Washington, DC, as a makeup artist, being very young at the time, Nyds took her under her wings and made sure she was safe.

“My friend, you will be remembered for your kindness, your infectious smile and warm personality. Rest in eternal peace.”

The National Dance Association and the National Drama Association also expressed condolences to Byron’s friends and family.