Gabrielle de Burke (i.e. Plum Dragoness)
A native of West Philadelphia, Gabrielle is a multi-talented thespian, dancer and poetess who has been involved with theater since childhood. Throughout her early years, she studied various visual and performing arts media to cultivate her expressive theatrical personality. Gabrielle always had a profound interest in the performing arts that involved her in cross-cultural ventures that bridge the gaps between traditional sacred / secular dance, theatre and present day urban expressions of life.
While earning her BA in Theater from Temple University in 2000 (with an exploratory concentration in African/Modern Dance, World Music & Jazz Voice) she continued to immerse herself in training with the Spirit Wind Internal Arts Society where she received many certifications of study in traditional Chinese martial / internal arts. Her background in costume production, dance, voice, stage/film acting, poetry as performance & martial/internal arts techniques make a significant contribution to her creation of innovative performance art. She is well-known for her captivating stage presence & unique movement style as well as her healing arts practice (Lung Shen Healing Arts) and arts in education work throughout the Philadelphia area & abroad. Her work as a performer has been featured on local, national & international stages ranging from community theaters to prestigious performing arts venues.
Credit: jazzwall @ the Times Square Performing Arts Center in NYC, October 2010; Costume by Plum D
In 2001, Gabrielle took a break from her solo work after being scouted by Executive Director-Glenn Weikert to join the mask theater company Archedream. She is considered a founding member and was a core performer and choreographer from 2001 to 2006 in addition to carrying the title of Assistant-Artistic Director. Before making her departure from the company she created and produced two touring shows as well as initiating the fundraising project known as Friends of Archedream.
Gabrielle has continued her commitment of giving back to her hometown community not only as an Arts Educator but also as the Event Organizer & Resident Artist of the free ongoing performance series “Poet-tree En Motion,” held @ the Rotunda since 2007 in West Philadelphia. Through this series she has formed the musical group known as “Plum Dragoness & the Elements,” combining the spoken word with a range of world music compositions, dance and theatrical presentations. Her 2010 debut CD poetry “Renaissance of a Poetess” has just been released.
Credits: Bill Hebert of “Plum Dragoness & the Elements” 2010 @ the Rotunda
To pay tribute to her fiery nature & the Influence of her love for martial arts, dance & music… she also participates in collaborative performances troupes such as the 2010 “Scorch” fire shows!
Credit: Daniel Jung
“Gabrielle’s poetry is pure sensory theatre… it’s more than words from a page… her poetry summons movement from the listener… from playful to serious, from relaxed to hurried… delighting children and adults in the village.”
– Gina Renzi. Director of the Rotunda, May 2007
“This exceptional performance saved me… and lightened the mood for everyone! Her performances have great imagination… full of enthusiasm and she was greater than words can put it.”
– Tamika L. Davis. Writer for the Community College of Philadelphia, November 2007
“Her voice is soothing, her body language entrancing and her messages amazing.”
– Lindsay Gallagher, Art Therapist, November 2010
Credit: J. W. Quinn