Olga “Ollie” Burgoyne was a talented performer who appeared briefly during the early 1900s.
Burgoyne was born on June 13, 1878, in Chicago, Illinois, her ethnicity was part Russian and part Creole. Before joining the British-based cast of “In Dahomey,” an operetta written by Bert Williams and George Walker, she was a well-known performer throughout Russia.
Burgoyne earned the reputation of a being quite the “firecracker.” She not only performed but was recognized for being a stern businesswoman. She was the owner of the Maison Creole, an elegant shop for women in St. Petersburg.
Burgoyne earned respect for her work and was lauded as one of the eight major African American dancers/ choreographers of the Harlem Renaissance; she ranked in an elite group that comprised Helmsley Winfield, Edna Guy, and Katherine Dunham.
Burgoyne appeared in vaudeville with the Seven Florida Creole Girls (1903) and with her own company in 1922. She was also a featured performer in Follow Me (1925), Make Me Know It (1929), and Lost in Hawaii (1921). She also appeared in ten Broadway productions from 1926-1937. Three of her well-known credits include “Tired Business Man (1929), “Lulu Bell,” and “The Constant Sinner.”
Burgoyne’s professional career spanned for nearly fifty years. In her later years, she taught Russian dancers and worked behind the scenes in the movie industry. Ollie Burgoyne died April 2, 1974, in Oxnard, California.
Black Women of the Harlem Renaissance