Carolyn Krueger has been a performer, choreographer, and teacher of Middle Eastern / Central Asian dance for over fifteen years, with a specialty in Uzbek dance. She has a solo repertoire of over two dozen traditional dances of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Iran (Persia), Azerbaijan, Armenia, Egypt, Afghanistan, and Turkey. She specializes in the dances of former Soviet Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and is a pioneer in the art of Uzbek and Tajik dance performance in the West. She is the founder and Artistic Director of Gulistan Dance Theater, which offers concert performances of traditional dance and music and features the choreography of Carolyn's celebrated mentor, People's Artist of Uzbekistan, Vilayat Akilova.
Carolyn went on dance study tours of Turkey and Greece in 1988, and Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Russia, and the Ukraine in 1989. She underwent intensive training with Vilayat Akilova under ArtsLink grants in 1994 and 1997.
In 1984, Carolyn became a principal dancer of Anthony Shay's AVAZ International Dance Theatre. As the AVAZ Associate Artistic Director and Education Director from 1990 to 1994, she staged ten new works from Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Azerbaijan. She also created and directed in-school programs and trained company members in regional styles.
Carolyn founded the Gulistan Dance Theater in 1994. In 1994 and 1995, she was an Artist-in-Residence for the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts under a California Arts Council Grant. In 1999, she was Choreographer-in-Residence for Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California, under a Coast College District Grant. In 2001, she became a Traveling Dance Teacher with the Los Angeles Unified School District's Arts Prototype Program and a Visiting Lecturer at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in Uzbek and Persian Dance.
An outstanding performer, Carolyn gave performances in Uzbekistan with Tashkent Yulduzlara, including the Tashkent Mayor's Mansion in 1997, and was the first foreign professional dancer to perform in Tashkent's official Navroz (New Year) Festival held each year on March 21st. She was showcased in a 30-minute television program produced in Uzbekistan for Tashkent Television documenting work with Mme. Akilova and featuring six solos.
In 1993, she was a curated soloist for the Los Angeles Festival, a concert shared with Shashmaqam Bukharan Jewish Ensemble of New York. Carolyn was, from 1994 to 1995, Artist-in-Residence at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts under a California Arts Council Grant. In 1995, with her group Gulistan, she gave a concert at UCLA honoring Erkin Vahidov, beloved Uzbek writer and poet, Committee Chairman of the Uzbek Parliament, and Member of the Supreme Council to the President of Uzbekistan.
She also was a guest soloist with master drummer Siamak Pouian and UC Santa Barbara's Middle East Ensemble in concert featuring Persian singing star Sattar, which aired on Persian Television in 1996. In 1997 and 1999, she was the guest soloist for ten performances of Po Na Na Dance Theater's "Layla and Majnun" in Los Angeles. She co-produced and performed Mystic Rhythms concert with Persian singer and poet Mitra in Los Angeles in 1998. In 1999, with Gulistan, she gave a concert of Turkish music and dance at Los Angeles County Museum of Art's Bing Theater in conjunction with Letters in Gold exhibit of Ottoman Calligraphy from Istanbul, Turkey; a concert at UCLA/Armand Hammer Museum celebrating the acclaimed Royal Persian Paintings exhibit; performed in World Music and Dance Celebration, Riverside Community College; and performed as featured guest artist in a Faculty Dance Concert at Orange Coast College.
During 2000, she was Guest Soloist in Eastern Arts' WorlDance Concert featuring additional guest artists Anwar Yusuf, Uighur master instrumentalist and singer, and Tolkin Isakov, Uzbek master percussionist, at Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City, Utah. Then, in 2001, she premiered Gulistan's full-length concert of Uzbek and Tajik Dance, "Rhythms of the Steppe," at the Ocean View Ballroom in Belmont Shore, California.
Carolyn has 25 years of training and performances in:
Carolyn has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance Performance from the University of California at Irvine (UCI), and a Master of Arts degree in Choreography from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). She also has several awards, including two NEA-approved Collaborative Grants from ArtsLink for performance studies and documentation in the Independent Republic of Uzbekistan in 1993 and 1996, and the Lester Horton Dance Award nominations for Outstanding Achievement in Individual Performance and Staging Traditional Dance in 1993 and 1994.