DOUGIE SQUIRES OBE | CV
His career spans over five decades and it is estimated that he has worked with over 10000 dancers over that period.-and his creativity and energy has inspired so many of today’s top dancers -teachers –performers and choreographers.
Born in Long Eaton he was inspired by the musical films of the day, Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor particularly.
At the age of twenty he began his dance training with Audrey de Vos and Kathleen Crofton. His career began in repertory theatre and he then went on to become one of the best known and most popular singer/dancers on British television before concentrating on choreography.
Inspired by street dancing of the period he created a young style that encouraged audiences to appreciate dance in TV. His use of dancers of talent -no matter the shape or height or colour was trail blazing in the Sixties and Seventies and he was the first choreographer to use an integrated group of ethnic dancers on British television.
Without a doubt, his original choreographic talents and staging changed the face of popular dance on television, with his groups The Young Generation and the internationally acclaimed Second Generation. His unique style captured the imagination of the nation in popular shows starring Rolf Harris, Lulu, Dame Vera Lynn and many other top stars throughout the world. To list the stars he has choreographed and directed would read like a Who’s Who of the world of entertainment, but have included Diana Ross, Julie Andrews, Chita Rivera and John Lennon.
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 –few choreographers attempted to include the camera in the equation rather than just ignoring it and such things as choreographed close-ups was not even attempted.
Dougie Squires was among the first TV choreographers to involve male/female relationships and especially dancing for the cameras - his work initially was inspired by the Rock n Roll age and boys and girls dancing together with lifts and by play. But more important was his battle to integrate ethnic groups into his work. He was the first to use black dancers working directly with white dancers and having won the battle with the TV pundits to use mixed groups he then had to face criticism from viewers.
His first choreography for TV was a hit parade programme called “Cool for Cats” which ran for four years and was transmitted live sometimes twice a week-With a team of six dancers four white -one beautiful South African Eurasian girl Angela von Breda and a Jamaican black boy dancer Roy Allen-who were strong members of the team and were featured equally. Mixing races at this time was a brave and exciting development and after working with this small group he went onto working with large groups of dancers also of mixed 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 surprising was the fact that no matter what ethnic background you came from you could audition and be considered for the group if you had the potential- No longer was it necessary to be regimented by height or even weight and 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.
It was always Dougie Squires aim to break barriers ethnically and dance wise and to encourage the team spirit and the encouragement of the individual within a team as a means to development. He also fought for choreographers to have their own spot in the shows which he was involved and that dancers became an important part of the show team rather than just dancing wallpaper... It is now totally acceptable for mixed groups 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. Sadly TV dancing has lost its 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 could hold.
His theatre and casino shows were innovative and brought a refreshing modern look to traditional concepts. He directed Patti Boulayes’s spectacular African musical 'Sundance’ that opened in May 2005 to great acclaim at the Hackney Empire, London.
He has written over 30 pantomimes and has used this medium to develop young talent He has directed and choreographed many musicals including Guys and Dolls, Irma la Douce and Stop the world - the German version of "My fair lady" in the Opera houses of Berlin and Munich, and the Dutch version in Holland, he also went on to choreograph "Oliver" in German.
Directing on stage and in television worldwide from Hong Kong to New York, exploring all forms of theatre including choreography for the HK Contemporary ballet company his 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 he has been involved in "All the Queen’s Horses”, a celebration of 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 and the spectacular "Defence of the Realm". and the Queen's "Fortieth Anniversary Celebrations" at Earls Court, the phenomenally 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" -He then directed the Queens Jubilee Celebrations in Hyde Park and the Mall. And for ten years the Not Forgotten Association Christmas Shows at St James Palace with many international stars. In Horse guards Parade he choreographed the 50th Commemoration of World War 2 ending. His experience over the years standing him in good stead utilising casts of thousands or small groups 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- Also the tribute to Dan Crawford at the Novello Theatre with an all star cast- 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 and 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 .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.
He was awarded the Carl Alan award for his contribution to progress in dance. and –in 2005 he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the prestigious International Choreographers organisation so his career continues to go forth successfully covering all forms of entertainment in the world of dance and theatre.
His skill and expertise in directing a cast of thousands is unsurpassed and he is one of the most sought after director/choreographers in the world of stage, theatre and television..directing mammoth pageants and celebrations involving military content ,horses,camels and new technology.
He was awarded the O.B.E by Her Majesty the Queen for his contribution to the Arts.
2010 - present
2010 - present