Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
December 07, 2007
Theophilus “Theo” Chumney is the Grand Marshall for the 2007-2008 St. Kitts – Nevis National Carnival Parade.
Chumney, who hails from Buckley’s Estate, has deep roots in the masquerade dance tradition. He started dancing at the age of six after seeing members of the Rupert Samuel Masquerade troupe practicing. Mr. Samuel saw the young child mimicking the dance and took him under his wing.
Mr. Chumney played masquerade for more than 25 years with popular groups such as the Procope, Teatime and Sports Masquerade Troupes. He excelled in the folklore dance and represented the Federation at CARIFESTA III in Cuba in 1979. Retiring from dancing, Chumney remained close to the art form by beating out rhythms on the drums. His hard work and sweet rhythms made him an excellent candidate to return to the region’s most prominent showcase, CARIFESTA VIII in Suriname 2003. He still drums to this day.
The folklorist recalled his days of dancing fondly and talked about the colourful uniforms he made to dance in as well as camping out in rural areas after late night performances.
Mr. Chumney said some of the traditional dance has been lost in today’s performance. He indicated that he’d be willing to work with younger dancers to revive some of these dances and keep the masquerade art form alive.