Barrett, Cynthia (1921–2006) By Donaldson, Samantha Mehra
Choreographer, teacher, and dance artist Cynthia Barrett was a modern dance artist who established her own company in Toronto. For a short while she directed the Neo Dance Theatre (later to become the New Dance Theatre under Nancy Lima Dent), for which she choreographed Song of David, which was performed at the Second Canadian Ballet Festival in 1949. While a self-professed ballet dancer, she looked toward modern themes, music, and aesthetics for inspiration. In 1944 she explored the plight of the Jewish peoples during and since World War II in Child Refugee: I Don’t See No Butterflies (1944), and considered local social histories in Canadiana (1946) and Eskimo Dances (1946). During the mid-1960s, she began using a group of dancers including Peter Randazzo, David Earle, and Patricia Beatty, who would eventually become the founders of Toronto Dance Theatre.