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Carolyn Krueger

Artistic Director

A pioneering dance artist, Ms. Krueger’s accomplishments as a performer, choreographer, artistic director, and costume designer have earned her and GDT several nominations for Southern California's prestigious Lester Horton Award. Carolyn’s creativity, combined with an exceptional background in classical ballet, Modern Dance, and international dance forms has found expression in her theatrical vision for Gulistan Dance Theater, which she founded in 1999. Carolyn has performed by invitation in Uzbekistan, Turkey, Europe, across the U. S., and throughout California. In 2022 she was featured in two documentary films. In April, Carolyn was the subject of LA-based filmmaker Lena Nozizwe's artistic documentary for Voice of America Uzbek (America Ovozi). In July, Ms. Krueger appeared in the fourth and final episode of the documentary entitled "American Uzbeks and the American Dream" on BBC Uzbek. This masterful work was created by Uzbek-born, London-based BBC journalist Ibrat Safo..

A specialist in Central Asian dance, Carolyn belongs to the “first wave” of Western dancers (about half a dozen) to pursue comprehensive traditional dance training in Uzbekistan during the 1980s and 1990s. She first visited Uzbekistan during the Soviet Era and returned to the independent Uzbekistan in 1994 and 1997 under two Collaborative Grants from ArtsLink, a program of CEC International Partners. The grants supported Ms. Krueger’s two residencies in Tashkent with People’s Artist of Uzbekistan Viloyat Akilova of the acclaimed Akilov dance dynasty. During her residencies, Carolyn lived in Mme. Akilova’s home while undertaking private study of all three styles of Uzbek theatrical dance. 1997, Carolyn performed at the Tashkent Mayor’s Mansion as a soloist with Mme. Akilova’s ensemble. In addition, she performed in the ensemble for the official Navruz (Spring) festival in Tashkent attended by President Karimov. She was also featured in her own television special on Tashkent Television. In 2001 and 2003, Gulistan welcomed Viloyat to Los Angeles for choreographic residencies and a performance with the company.

Prior to forming Gulistan Dance Theater, Carolyn earned B.A. and M.A. degrees in Dance Performance and Choreography from UC Irvine and UCLA, respectively. While at UCLA, Carolyn deepened her decades-old dedication to world dance by joining Avaz International Dance Theater as a member of the “Oriental” section featuring women’s dances of the Silk Road. Ultimately serving as Principal Dancer and Associate Artistic Director, Ms. Krueger choreographed a dozen new works and directed existing repertoire for the Los Angeles-based touring company.

In her role as educator, Ms. Krueger served for ten years as a full-time dance instructor for the Los Angeles Unified School District’s innovative Elementary Arts Program and held the positions of Visiting Lecturer in Dance at UC Santa Barbara, Artist-in-Residence at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, and Choreographer-in-Residence at Orange Coast College. She also created and performed in several in-school dance programs which toured with LAUSD’s Intergroup Cultural Awareness Program (ICAP), Performing Tree, and the Orange County Performing Arts Center’s (now Segerstrom Center for the Arts) “From the Center” roster.

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