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Celebrating legendary Dance Choreographer Gilbert Douglas

Made by Kuda (MADE IN ZWE), a gift to Plot Mhako and the earGROUND vision.

Celebrating legendary Dance Choreographer Gilbert Douglas

In the realm of dance, there are artists whose journey resonates not just through their movements but also through the communities they touch and the stories they tell. Gilbert Douglas, a distinguished dance choreographer, stands as a testament to the transformative power of movement and culture. Born in Harare, Zimbabwe, and nurtured in the vibrant atmosphere of Tafara township, Douglas’s artistic journey began amidst the pulsating rhythms of traditional African dance exhibitions that adorned his neighborhood every weekend.

By Plot Mhako

Growing up immersed in the rich tapestry of Southern African dance traditions, from Gule wamkulu to Chimutali, Douglas found his passion ignited by the performances that unfolded before his eyes. It was within this lively environment that his love for dance took root, spurred on by the community dramas that further fueled his fascination with the performing arts.

Embracing his calling, Douglas embarked on a transformative journey, becoming one of the founding members of the esteemed Tumbuka Dance Company, Zimbabwe’s premier contemporary dance ensemble. Serving as its Artistic Director from 2004 to 2011, Douglas played a pivotal role in shaping the company’s artistic vision and elevating Zimbabwean dance onto the global stage.

His influence extended far beyond Zimbabwe, as Douglas embarked on extensive tours across Africa, America, and Europe, mesmerizing audiences and leading workshops that bridged cultures and continents. From the bustling streets of South Africa to the grand stages of Europe, Douglas’s choreography captivated hearts and minds, showcasing the richness of African dance heritage to audiences around the world.

In 2010, Douglas was handpicked to collaborate on the South African Festival Infecting the City, where his visionary choreography breathed life into the mesmerising performance piece, “Quiet Emergency.” His artistic prowess continued to shine as he ventured to Australia, leaving an indelible mark on the cultural landscape. From choreographing the Farewell Ceremony for the Woodford Folk Festival to co-creating poignant works for the Australian Football League’s Dreamtime at the G, Douglas’s contributions to Australian arts were profound and enduring.

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“A passionate advocate for cultural exchange and community engagement, Douglas’s commitment to nurturing young talent and amplifying marginalised voices is exemplified through his collaborations with diverse groups, from Indigenous youth camps to artists with intellectual disabilities. His dedication to fostering inclusivity and empowerment through dance serves as an inspiration to all.”

As the recipient of numerous accolades and awards, including a nomination for the prestigious Green Room Award, Douglas’s impact on the arts landscape continues to reverberate. His latest endeavour, a monumental 2.6km art walk along Victoria’s Southern rail trail, promises to be a celebration of creativity, unity, and collective spirit. Drawing inspiration from the timeless wisdom of the 12th-century Sufi poem “Conference of the Birds,” Douglas invites performers, artists, and community members to partake in a transformative journey of self-discovery and communal expression.

On May 25th, 2024, the first chapter of this extraordinary undertaking will unfold, marking yet another milestone in Douglas’s illustrious career. As we celebrate the creative legacy of Gilbert Douglas, let us embrace the transformative power of dance to unite, inspire, and uplift communities around the world.

Made by Kuda (MADE IN ZWE)
A gift to Plot Mhako and the earGROUND vision.
Truly, for the culture.


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