My personal aesthetic for performing poetry is to give it motion and to let the poetry act as a vehicle to carry a message…in a dance with words! I am an innovative performance artist who uses my background as a poet, martial/internal artist, thespian, dancer and healing arts instructor to bring a unique flavor to my stage productions. I have created and performed my original theater pieces in local, national and international venues as both a solo artist and group performer. While in college and after graduating with a B.A. in Theater from Temple University’s Department of Theater in 2000, I had several opportunities to tour my poetry as a solo artist. In 2001 I began working full-time as a core troupe member/Performer and Assistant Artistic Director for Archedream Theater Company before taking leave in 2007, when I came back to my work as a performance poet. In 2007, I began again orchestrating public performances series & performing as a resident artist at the Rotunda (West Philadelphia), which is currently completing another successful season. This series involves collaboration w/ local musicians/music producers, dancers, Emcees, poets & multi-media/visual artists. One of the interdisciplinary performance projects that evolved out of this series is the live music & spoken word group known as ‘Plum Dragoness & the Elements.’ Members of ‘the Elements’ contribute to the energetic musical arrangements that set the tone for the delivery of the poetry as a lyrical dance with words & a backdrop of visual projections connected to themes presented. These collaborating artists include both young & seasoned musicians versed in Jazz, Dub/Reggae, Drum & Bass, Hip-hop/Trip-hop, Soulful Rock, Afro-Brazilian, African Highlife & Irish folk traditions.
The poetry of award winning artist Gabrielle de Burke/the Plum Dragoness “is pure sensory theatre…bringing to the listener a full experience in words & imagery…[Her] gestures and facial expressions delight children & adults alike, while resonating with the excitement one might experience in African griots…” (Gina Renzi-Director of The Rotunda) The musical project arranged by Gabrielle de Burke called ‘Plum Dragoness & the Elements’ combines live instrumentation that includes but is not limited to Jazz, Dub/Reggae, Drum & Bass, Hip-hop/Trip-hop, Funk-Rock, Afro-Brazilian, African Highlife & Irish folk traditions, among others by infusing performance poetry/spoken word/lyrical vocal expressions & multi media projections in to their performances. Plum Dragoness, “is a truly gifted and talented performance artist, incorporating dance, poetry and theatre in her presentations…”(Susana Mayer-Founder & Host The Erotic Literary Salon) ” Plum Dragoness is truly a woman of our time. Her voice and choice of words connects us to the modern age, and yet still transcends us to an ancient time making everything she does to be timeless. She is a Poetess, Singer, Dancer, Actress, and most of all a Prophetess. If there is one show that is not to be missed in this day and age it would be Plum Dragoness and the Elements…”(Jeffrey King Duryea-Musician & Wordsmith) Core band members include; Larry Connelly-drum kit/percussion, Jon Espo-bass/synth, Eliott Levin-flute/sax, Ali Richardson-guitar/keys, Larry Toft-trombone & Gabrielle de Burke/Plum Dragoness-vocals/lyrics. “The Plum Dragoness is an INCREDIBLE performer who should NOT BE MISSED…If you haven’t seen Plum Dragones (& the Elements) perform yet, YOU ARE MISSING OUT…don’t sleep on this gem!” (Lina Luv-Acupuncturist/DJ)
- “Chi-Lung-Shen” (Energy of the Dragon Spirit)”-A 15-20 minute solo performance bringing together pre-recorded poetry, dance, theater & martial/internal arts props/weapons forms including instruments, fans, ribbons, staffs, swords & lit tea-cups. 2 monks observe the crafty moves of cranes, snakes & dragons in a mystical dance. After meditation, the Monks practice animal forms, flowing in synchronization with breath.
- “Transit Tales”– A 30 minute solo performance of multi-media, dance, poetry & live music with visual projections that takes the audience on an urban influenced journey with communal & alienating factors that contribute to moments of “public transportation.
- “Vignettes” This performance can last anywhere from 20-minutes-1 hour either as a solo performance art piece or “Reading” style presentation using pre-recorded instrumentals or involving 1-2 live instrumentalists.
- “Plum Dragoness & the Elements Live“-a 30min-1hr (or two 45 minute set) group presentation incorporating visual projections & lyrical poetry with the live band dynamic of ‘Plum Dragoness & the Elements’ performing current works as well as pieces from their debut album “Renaissance of a Poetess,” by way of Emmy Award winning music producer Rodney Whittenberg (available digitally on TuneCore) in December of 2010. Poetic themes range from societal ills & creating community to commentary on anti-violence, increasing sustainability & sensual content.
*Set list for performances can selected to fit into specific audiences or themes related to a community event, music festival, cultural celebration or for arts in education & out-reach program.
LETTERS OF SUPPORT
- the Community Education Center
- Woman’s Caucus for Art Philadelphia
- Main Line Media News
- Broad Street Review
- Young Women’s Caucus
- Susana Mayer Philadelphia Cultural Salons
- Philadelphia Weekly: Arts & Culture
- Artsy As F*ck:Bangarang
- Philadelphia Community Newspaper
- LOOK: on Lancaster
- West Philly Local
- 12-07-10 PD & the E’s Press Release
- PEM ARTS AND CULTURE
- 05-30-11 Press Release Plum Dragoness Performance Benefit
- 12-07-10 PD & the E’s Press Release
“very impressive cd – powerful actually… I am loving it thus far… so glad I decided to listen… nicely done… spoken word and musical arrangements… what a gift.”
-Gabrielle Wanamaker (Business Woman & Consultant)
“Thanks Plum Dragoness – aka Gabrielle de Burke for coming to the Of Mythic Proportions class and leading such a super workshop!! I knw the kids appreciated everything you shared with them!”
–Hannah Tsapatoris MacLeod (Founder & Producing Artistic Director-Naked Feet Theatrical Productions)
“the Plum Dragoness is an INCREDIBLE performer who should NOT BE MISSED…If you haven’t seen Plum Dragoness perform yet, YOU ARE MISSING OUT…don’t sleep on this gem!
-Lina Luv (a.k.a. Caroline Ashurst/Acupuncturist by day & DJ by night)
“Gabrielle’s poetry is pure sensory theatre… its more than words from a page… her poetry summons movement from the listener… from playful to serious, from relaxed to hurried… delighting children & adults in the village.”
-Gina Renzi (Director of the Rotunda)
“This exceptional performance saved me… & lightened the mood for everyone! Her performances have great imagination… full of enthusiasm & she was greater than words can put it.”
–Tamika L. Davis (Writer for the Community College of Philadelphia)
“Her voice is soothing, her body language entrancing and her messages amazing.”
-Lindsay Gallagher (Art Therapist)
“Plum Dragoness boldly speaks, sings and dances her truth, evoking in her audience the desire to use their own voices to claim their unquestionable power.”
-Melissa Ayres (Company Manager, Board Member of ArcheDream for Humankind)
“a great personality that can be felt by audience(s) and excellent stage presence”
-Erin Rabe (Engineer & URS)
“We were honored to have Plum Dragoness (Gabrielle de Burke) perform her erotica… Superb… (The audience’s) response was overwhelming… First time in three plus years I have ever seen anyone get a standing ovation from the audience… It was obvious she needed to be invited back as a featured performer!”
“She is a truly gifted and talented performance artist, incorporating dance, poetry and theatre in her presentations.”
-Susana Mayer (Ph.D./Sexologist, Founder & Host The Erotic Literary Salon)
“Plum Dragoness is truly a woman of our time. Her voice and choice of words connects us to the modern age, and yet still transcends us to an ancient time making everything she does to be timeless. Poetess, Singer, Dancer, Actress, and most of all a Prophet. If there is one show that is not to be missed in this day and age it would be Plum Dragoness and the Elements….”
-Jeffrey King Duryea (Musician & Wordsmith)
“The spoken word pieces… (that she) chose to perform really emphasized and complimented the power of seeing a female performing artist express how gender stereotypes have affected her, was moving, and illustrated a contemporary example of how the negative effects of stereotypes can be turned into beautiful positive creative expression.”
-Shelley Hedlund (Program Manager & Artist-MYX/ Multi-cultural Youth eXchange)
“Gabrielle adds dimension and flair (to performances)…her gift of improvisation is unparalleled”
-Glenn Weikert (Executive Director of Archedream & Music Producer)