Creator of The Young Generation dance group Dougie Squires dies at the age of 91

Renowned choreographer Dougie Squires, who formed the television dance group The Young Generation, has died at the age of 91, it has been announced.

Squires formed the group, one of the first onscreen dancing troupes to feature both boys and girls, in the late 1960s, and later followed up with The Second Generation.

He died “peacefully” on Sunday, according to Deborah Goodman, a spokeswoman for The Young Generation and former member of The Second Generation.

“Dougie was a shining light in the world of dance and certainly changed the face of dance in the seventies,” Ms Goodman said.

“Having been a successful dancer himself, he changed the face of dance on television and stage with his The Young Generation, 15 boys and 15 girls – and onwards with The Second Generation.

“He directed and choreographed so many royal productions and the annual Horse of the Year Show at Windsor – until last year.”

After debuting on The Rolf Harris Show in 1967, members of the Generation Family went on to perform on other BBC shows including BBC2’s International Cabaret and Show Of The Week.

Members also performed for the late Queen at the 1977 silver jubilee celebrations as well as her 90th birthday celebrations at Windsor Castle.

Born in Long Eaton, Derbyshire, Squires was inspired from an early age by the musical films of the day, including those of Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor.

His career began in repertory theatre and he went on to become one of the best known and most popular singer/dancers on British television before deciding to concentrate on choreography.

Inspired by street dancing of the period, Squires created a young style that encouraged audiences to appreciate dance in television.

Focussing solely on talent, he was the first choreographer to use an integrated group of dancers of all ethnicities on British television.

Fashion – King’s Road Club Exhibition – London – 1971
Female members of The Young Generation, the dance group started by Dougie Squires (PA)

Squires was made an OBE in 2009 for services to the performing arts and appointed Member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO) in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to choreography and stage direction of royal pageants.

Throughout his career he directed and choreographed musicals around the world, including Guys and Dolls, Irma la Douce, Stop the World, and the German version of My Fair Lady in the Opera Houses of Berlin and Munich.

Ms Goodman’s statement continued: “I was lucky enough to be part of his Generation Family when I joined the Second Generation when I was 17.

“It was the dream for every young dancer. I learnt more from Dougie during that year about performance, than I learnt throughout my whole career.

“I say that with deep love and thanks.

“Dougie gave us something very special in our lives and he continues to do so. And we will all continue dancing with huge love for the man that changed so many of our lives and his Generation Family.”