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 Within its captivating and varied repertoire of traditional Central Asian dances, GDT is known for its specialty in the enchanting art of Uzbek dance. Gulistan has been uniquely honored and entrusted with over a dozen choreographies by People’s Artist of Uzbekistan Viloyat Akilova of the celebrated Akilov family of dancers.


Just over thirty years ago, Artistic Director Carolyn Krueger embarked on a fascinating  journey into the world of Central Asian dance. Her most beloved dance form, Uzbek dance, drew her to its source in the 1980s and ‘90s and she became part of the “first wave” of Western dancers (about six) to undertake comprehensive study in Uzbekistan. In 1999, she formed Gulistan Dance Theater in order deepen and share her passion for the refined and opulent dances of Uzbekistan and its neighbors.


GDT's engaging performances feature the talents of its versatile ensemble of dancers and accomplished percussionist Ron Wagner. Larger projects may include storytellers, actors, and additional musicians. Gulistan's dancers come to the company with strong dance and performance skills and are then trained in Uzbek and Tajik dance by Ms. Krueger. The dances, presented in opulent traditional costumes, are accompanied by folk, classical, and contemporary music, along with live traditional frame drumming. Carolyn and Gulistan have performed by invitation in Uzbekistan, Turkey, Greece, Croatia, Netherlands, across the U.S., and throughout California. GDT is available for concerts, festivals, cultural and educational programs, and special events.  


Gulistan's performances proudly feature choreography by People’s Artist of Uzbekistan Viloyat Akilova and her late father, Isakhar Akilov. These dances were gathered when, after a visit to Soviet Uzbekistan in 1989, Carolyn was awarded grants from ArtsLink for two residencies in Tashkent with Mme. Akilova (1994, 1997). Gulistan later worked directly with Mme. Akilova during her two visits to Los Angeles in 2001 and 2003. GDT is grateful for the mentorship of this honored artist.

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