A WEALTH OF EXPERIENCE
Dougie’s career spans over 7 decades and it is estimated that he has choreographed and directed more than 10,000 dancers over this period. His creativity and energy has inspired many of today’s top dancers, teachers, performers and choreographers.
Born in Long Eaton Derbyshire, Dougie was inspired from an early age by the musical films of the day those of Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor in particular.
At the age of twenty he began his dance training with Audrey de Vos and Kathleen Crofton. Dougie’s career began in repertory theatre and a speedy upward trajectory saw him become one of the best known and most popular singer/dancers on British television before he decided to concentrate on choreography his first love.
Inspired by street dancing of the period, Dougie created a young style that encouraged audiences to appreciate dance in television. His use of dancers of talent - no matter the shape or height or colour - was trail blazing in the Sixties and Seventies and Dougie was the first choreographer to use an integrated group of dancers of all ethnicities on British television.
With his groups The Young Generation and the internationally acclaimed Second Generation, Dougie’s original choreographic talents and staging changed the face of popular dance on television. His unique style captured the imagination of the nation in popular shows starring amongst others Dame Vera Lynn, Rolf Harris, Lulu - to list the stars Dougie has choreographed and directed would read like a Who’s Who of the world of entertainment, but have also included Diana Ross, Julie Andrews, Chita Rivera, John Lennon and many other top stars throughout the world.
Television dancing followed the styles and patterns created for stage choreography - West Side Story had not yet established a development of dramatic involvement in commercial dance. The dancing seen by television viewers was usually show dancers chosen for their regulated height and similarity and kick-line and glamorous showgirl type routines. There was very little attempt to develop relationships within a routine and few choreographers attempted to include the camera in the equation – perceived wisdom was just to ignore it, so that shots such as choreographed close-ups were not thought of or attempted.
Dougie first choreographed for television on a hit parade programme called “Cool for Cats” which ran for four years and was transmitted live sometimes twice a week. Mixing races at this time was a brave and exciting development and with a team of six (joining the group of four white dancers was a beautiful South African Eurasian girl Angela von Breda and a Jamaican black boy dancer Roy Allen) who were all strong members of the team and were featured equally, Dougie took the viewing public by storm. After working successfully with this small group, he went on to form a large group of dancers (also of mixed race origins) which became the Young Generation - probably the most popular dance group ever featured on British television with their originality - establishing individuals as well as groups within the complex routines.
Equally innovative at the time was the fact that no matter what ethnic background you came from you could audition and be considered for Dougie’s group if you had the potential. No longer was it necessary to be regimented by height, weight or colour - the more individual the better (the beautiful Chinese dancer Wei Wei Wong was one of the most popular members). Families all over the country saw the possibility that their offspring could stand a chance of becoming a member of the popular Young Generation and later the 2nd Generation. Nowadays it would be unusual if a dance group was not multi-cultural, but at that time - before Hot Gossip and other star dance groups, The Young Generation stood alone. Groups all over Europe sprang up to try and emulate the success of the trail blazing group
Dougie’s theatre and casino shows were innovative and brought a refreshing modern look to traditional concepts. He directed Patti Boulaye’s spectacular African musical 'Sundance’ which opened in May 2005 to great acclaim at the Hackney Empire London and he co-directed (with Wendy Toye) the star-studded Sir Noel Coward’s 70th birthday celebrations.
Dougie has directed and choreographed so many musicals around the world, including ‘Guys and Dolls’, ‘Irma la Douce’, ‘Stop the World’, the German version of ‘My Fair Lady’ in the Opera Houses of Berlin and Munich and the Dutch version in Holland, and choreographed ‘Oliver’ in German.
He has directed for stage and television worldwide - from Hong Kong to New York - exploring all forms of theatre including choreography for the HK Contemporary Ballet Company and his phenomenally successful production of ‘Los Argentinas’ at the Paris Olympia which combined the poetry, music and dancing of Argentina to great effect and acclaim.
Over the years Dougie has been regularly involved in ‘All the Queen’s Horses’, a celebration of HM the Queen’s love of horses, and the finale of the ‘Horse of the Year Show’ from Olympia. His work has been seen on 10 Royal Command Performances, the Pageant for the Queen Mother’s 100th Birthday on Horse Guards Parade, the spectacular ‘Defence of the Realm’, HM the Queen's ‘Fortieth Anniversary Celebrations’ at Earls Court, the fabulously moving and successful VE Celebrations in Hyde Park and the VJ Celebrations in Horse Guards Parade, the Rugby League Centenary World Cup with Diana Ross - all of which were televised internationally.
Working once again in collaboration with Major Sir Michael Parker on the ‘Royal Golden Wedding Celebrations’, Dougie then directed the Queens Jubilee Celebrations in Hyde Park and The Mall. In Horse Guards Parade he choreographed the 50th Commemoration of the end of World War II.
‘Joy to the World’ for four years at the Royal Albert Hall and the ‘Celebration of the Life of Abdul Azziz’ in Saudi Arabia, with 600 actors and 200 camels. A week-long entertainment of British and Korean culture in Birmingham NEC for the Rotary International Convention, climaxing with ‘The Celebration of the British musical’.
And for ten years, directing the Not Forgotten Association Christmas Shows at St James Palace featuring many international stars.
Directing mammoth pageants and celebrations involving military content, horses, camels and new technology is Dougie’s forte. An extensive list includes: -
A Gala for the end of the Falklands Celebrations at the Painted Hall in Greenwich, a most successful Revue in Scotland, The Crufts Dog show grand finale, a Gala performance at the Albert Hall for Aid to Africa, a Royal Gala at the Tower of London 2008, the Royal Tattoo at Windsor Castle, the Centenary Celebrations for the Territorial Army at the Mall and Buckingham Palace, the Gala Tribute to the London School of Speech & Drama at the Old Vic Theatre with Terence Stamp, Catherine Tate, Lynda Bellingham, Graham Norton, Wendy Craig, Rufus Sewell, Sara Kessleman, Nikolas Grace, Jennifer Saunders and many other Central students. A tribute to Dan Crawford at the Novello Theatre with an all-star cast, a tribute to Ian Fleming at the London Palladium with Sir Roger Moore, Daniel Craig, Jeremy Irons, Toby Stephens, Joanna Lumley, Stephen Fry, Brian Conley and many other international stars.
The ‘Dame Cleo Laine and Sir John Dankworth’s Millennium Celebrations’ at the Royal Festival Hall, The Maktoum Gala in Dubai for Princess Haya with hundreds of horses, camels and performers. In 2012 Dougie directed and created HM Diamond Jubilee with a cast of over 5000 and again in 2016 he directed Simon Brooks Wards Birthday Celebrations for her Majesty the Queen’s 90th Birthday at Windsor Castle and the spectacular equestrienne finale for the Horse Show at Olympia. Dougie is currently preparing the Celebrations for Dame Vera Lynn’s one-hundredth birthday at the London Palladium in 2017.
It was always Dougie’s aim to break barriers ethnically and dance wise, to encourage team spirit and the individual within a team as a means to development. He also fought for choreographers to have their own spot in the shows in which he was involved and for dancers to be accepted as an important part of the show team, rather than just dancing wallpaper. But sadly, TV dancing has lost this path of development – experimental choreography and the use of dancers of all types has once more been taken over by backing groups. But who knows what the future will hold?
Dougie Squire’s skill and expertise in directing a cast of thousands is unsurpassed and he is one of the world’s most sought-after director/choreographers. His career continues to go forth successfully covering all forms of entertainment in the world of dance and theatre.
Dougie has been awarded two Carl Alan Awards, one for his choreographic work and again in 2016 the Carl Alan award for his Services to Dance.
He has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the prestigious International Choreographers Organization
Dougie was awarded the O.B.E by Her Majesty the Queen for his contribution to the world of dance, and most recently he has been honoured with an M.V.O. (Member of the Royal Victorian Order, a dynastic order of knighthood established by Queen Victoria) in recognition of his Services to the Queen, in Her Majesty’s New Year’s Honours list 2017.