Friday, December 15, 2023

Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company Marks 30th Season

From The Georgetowner:

The dancers, designers and founding choreographer of Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company (DTSBDC) were met with a standing ovation by a sold-out crowd at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater, following a special one-night performance on Nov. 30.

The evening opened with an excerpt from “A Tribute to Marian Anderson,” a piece choreographed during DTSBDC’s residency at the National Portrait Gallery. This was followed by “Transformations,” which featured costumes by Project Runway finalist Patricia Michaels, “Fractures” and “Surroundings: A Tribute to Maya Lin” (also created as part of the dance company’s NPG residency). 

The evening culminated in the energetic “Mandala,” inspired by Burgess’s tours to India and Pakistan. A VIP reception was held at the Kennedy Center’s Roof Terrace Restaurant, where Honorary 30th Season Chair, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), mingled with supporters and friends. Aaron Myers, Executive Director of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, addressed the crowd and presented a mayoral proclamation, and the dance company’s board conferred awards to major supporters and partners.

Read the article here

Monday, December 4, 2023

Book review: Dana Tai Soon Burgess’ ‘Chino and the Dance of the Butterfly’

 Check out Kathryn Boland's review of Dana's memoir in Dance Informa Magazine:

Chino and the Dance of the Butterfly: A Memoir paints a picture of Burgess’ unique path but also reveals truths common to the path of all dance artists. His prose is just as poetic is his atmospheric choreography – lyrical, yet eschewing the needlessly esoteric. Honest and rich, his stories can deeply engage both the heart and mind. 

Read the review, and learn more about the book, here.

Saturday, December 2, 2023

New NDI residency, Dana's upbringing highlighted in Pasatiempo for The Santa Fe New Mexican

From the Santa Fe New Mexican:

Joan Ayap performs with former Santa Fe resident Dana Tai Soon Burgess’ Washington, D.C.-based modern dance company. Photo Jeff Watts

Dance dream
Michael Wade Simpson | For The New Mexican
Dec 1, 2023

Dana Tai Soon Burgess is a Korean American choreographer. His Korean given name, Tai Soon, means “great serenity of the family,” and while he has lived in Washington, D.C., for 35 years and worked globally, he was raised in Santa Fe, a place he still calls home.

“It’s the place I still feel most understood,” he says. As an artist who has made a career exploring the stories of “hyphenated people” — those like himself of mixed ethnicity — he finds the layers of cultures of New Mexico bring him comfort. “There is something ancient that resonates for me.”

Thursday, September 21, 2023

See the mention of our recent Soireé in The Georgetowner!


The Diplomats of Dance Society hosted its annual soirée, which included a special performance from Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company (DTSBDC), on Thursday, September 14th. Choreographer Dana Tai Soon Burgess, members of the Washington dance community, and dance supporters new and seasoned were in attendance at the historic Arts Club of Washington, former home of President James Monroe.

DTSBDC dancers performed excerpts in the intimate gallery space, and offered a preview for their upcoming Kennedy Center performance on November 30.

The Diplomats of Dance Society supports the cultural diplomacy of the dance company’s international touring, which has included more than 30 countries. Burgess has been a cultural ambassador with the U.S. State Department for over two decades.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Diplomats of Dance Soiree at the Arts Club of Washington

Join the Diplomats of Dance Society as it celebrates Dana Tai Soon Soon Burgess Dance Company (DTSBDC)'s 30th anniversary season!

Thursday, September 14 · 6 - 7:30pm

Join the Diplomats of Dance Society for a special cocktail hour and an intimate performance with Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company (DTSBDC), recently named Best Dance Company 2023 by Washington City Paper.

Choreographer Dana Tai Soon Burgess will be in attendance with some of the DTSBDC dancers, who will perform excerpts in the Arts Club's historic gallery space, and give us a preview for their upcoming Kennedy Center performance in November!

Dana has been a cultural ambassador with the U.S. State Department for over two decades, and has brought his "universal language of dance" around the world to countries including Peru, Korea, Mongolia, India, Israel, Jordan, and Suriname, among others. He has been hailed as "not only a Washington prize, but a national dance treasure" by The Washington Post.

Join us for a special evening of live dance in a historic arts space, and celebrate dance diplomacy! Light hors d'oeuvres and libations will be included.

The Arts Club of Washington occupies the former home of President James Monroe, and is located beside the Hotel Lombardy on I (Eye) Street NW, across from James Monroe Park.

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Dance Magazine: How Choreographer and Artistic Director Dana Tai Soon Burgess Uses Dance to Move Between Cultural Worlds

Dana Tai Soon Burgess, here with Miyako Nitadori, wrote the recent memoir Chino and the Dance of the Butterfly. Photo by Mary Noble Ours, Courtesy Patch Canada PR.

"For me, dance is a universal language through which I can communicate my inner landscape. All of human­ity danced before we had written or even spoken language. We inherently understand the postures, gestures, and rhythms of the body. These can express happiness, sadness, and even resilience of the spirit.

I’m a fourth-generation Korean American. I grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in a Hispanic neighborhood, attending bilingual Spanish and English schools by day while experiencing a very Asian American experience at home. My best friends were American Indian, Hispanic, and Asian American. Early on, I learned to move between different cultural worlds by embracing one concerted language: dance. Movement became my primary, galvanizing mode of communication. Through dance I expressed how I perceive the world."  

 Read the full article here.

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

An evening with Dana Tai Soon Burgess at the National Press Club

February 23, 2023 at 6:00pm 

Burgess will be interviewed by Eileen O’Reilly, President of the National Press Club, about his memoir and then he will answer audience questions. Dancers from his acclaimed company will also perform excerpts from their repertoire. Books will be available for purchase at the event. 

Event details here

 Book details here

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Metro Weekly cover story: Dana Tai Soon Burgess Creates Portraits in Motion

Dana Tai Soon Burgess celebrates his 30th season with the release of a memoir and the debut of his latest work for the National Portrait Gallery

By André Hereford

"In the deeply personal autobiography, Burgess chronicles his childhood growing up gay and outcast in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A son of two visual artists, he would find his art in dance, and follow a serendipitous path to performing and creating on the world’s greatest stages."

"Known to many as the “Diplomat of Dance,” Burgess has been telling stories worldwide through his eponymous modern and contemporary dance ensemble for 30 seasons. He also has served for over two decades as a Cultural Ambassador for the U.S. State Department, a role that complements his work with the Portrait Gallery."


Read this wonderful interview online here,
or the print version (and see the cover photo by Suereya Shaheen!) here.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

DTSBDC's "A Tribute to Marian Anderson"

Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company premiered "A Tribute to Marian Anderson" to standing ovations at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery on February 3, 4 and 24th.

As the Smithsonian’s first-ever choreographer in residence, Dana Tai Soon Burgess created the new work in response to the museum’s exhibition “One Life: Marian Anderson”. The 30 minute performance “paid homage to Anderson’s voice and grace while underscoring the racial barriers she overcame.”

Congresswoman and civil rights activist Eleanor Holmes Norton spoke as the guest of honor on opening night.

See photos and links below!

Standing ovations followed all three performances. Photo credit: Jeff Malet

Photo credit: Tony Powell

Photo credit: Jeff Malet

Eleanor Holmes Norton and Dana Tai Soon Burgess. Photo credit: Jeff Malet
For more photos and reviews, see the links below:

Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company Premiers ‘A Tribute to Marian Anderson’ (photos)

Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company’s ‘A Tribute to Marian Anderson’: Harmonic motion (review)

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Amidst a changed State Department, a cultural envoy brings US modern dance to Indonesia

 Joan Ayap and Christin Arthur in the premiere of DTSBDC's "Silhouettes" at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, 2018. Photo credit: Matailong Du

The Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company has been a staple of the Washington, DC region's dance scene for 27 years, presenting original choreography to critical acclaim and having recently made history when it was named the Smithsonian's first-ever resident dance company at the National Portrait Gallery in 2016. It has also been a United States State Department cultural envoy for over two decades, an honor bestowed not long after artistic artistic director Dana Tai Soon Burgess founded the company in 1992.

In this capacity, the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company (DTSBDC) has toured to over thirty countries across five continents; from Egypt to Mongolia...Pakistan to Peru. Now DC's premiere modern dance company and "a national dance treasure" will tour to Indonesia beginning late October of this year. However, unlike with previous tours, more of the costs for such international 'dance diplomacy' will fall on the dance company itself, as the State Department's budget for cultural and artistic exchange has been reconfigured in recent years.

The Diplomats of Dance Society will be hosting a fundraiser planned for October 17th and we are thrilled to do so at Eaton DC, a unique hotel, restaurant, entertainment and meeting space that celebrates storytelling, cultural sharing and innovation - all qualities of DTSBDC's unique dance work. 

To attend, register now through Eventbrite.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Dance Informa article: Dana Tai Soon Burgess' mother to make cameo in revival of "Tracings" this Saturday at the National Portrait Gallery

This weekend's performance by Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery is a special one. The work, "Tracings", will be revived and performed at 6:00 p.m. in the Kogod Courtyard of the museum, free and open to the public - but please arrive early. (We have a arranged a private tour prior to the performance.) 

Dana's mother, who appeared in the 2003 premiere of "Tracings" at the Kennedy Center, will return to Washington, DC for a cameo in this Saturday's show. The piece is inspired by Dana's own family's immigration to America, and the experience of Korean-Americans, and immigrants in general, as they left their mother country and settled in a new land.

From Dance Informa:

"Burgess also details some of the inspirations for movement content in, and aesthetics of, the work. He describes scars on his mother’s hands, which he would ask about when he was a child. In an as age-appropriate way as possible, she told Burgess about working on pineapple plantations when she first came to America (Hawaii, more specifically). The hands thus became a focus in the movement. He recounts how remembering these scars, and the stories she told him about how she got them, was an “ah-ha” moment for him in creating Tracings. His mother, visual artist Anna Burgess, will have an actual physical presence in the work, as well; she will appear as a special guest performer."
Read the article in its full glory at Dance Informa here.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Pre-performance private tour at the National Portrait Gallery

The Diplomats of Dance Society will enjoy a private tour, with curator Robyn Asleson, of the “Portraits of the World: Korea” exhibit at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery on Saturday, May 4th at 5:00 p.m., just prior to the 6:00 p.m. performance of Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company's performance of "Tracings" in the museum's Kogod Courtyard.

"Portraits of the World: Korea" is part of a series dedicated to highlighting the global context of American portraiture, and displays the work of pioneering feminist artist Yun Suknam (born 1939), and uses portraiture to gain insights into the lives of women, past and present.

Choreographer Dana Tai Soon Burgess, a Korean-American, premiered "Tracings" at the Kennedy Center in 2003. This very personal dance is the story of his family's immigration to Hawaii from Korea in the early 20th century. His mother, artist Anna Kang Burgess, will be in Washington, DC to make a cameo in this very special revival of the piece.

Tour and performance are free. Space is limited.

RSVP here

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Don't miss We choose to go to the moon Dec. 12, 15 and 18 at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery!

We choose to go to the moon publicity photo. Credit: Jeff Watts

"We choose to go to the Moon" will close out the National Portrait Gallery’s special 50th anniversary programming tied to the museum’s 50th exhibition, One Year: 1968, An American Odyssey exhibition. The program is also in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum’s kick-off of year-long programming with events honoring the Apollo missions and the country’s future in space.

Inspired by the space race and President Kennedy’s 1962 speech at Rice University entitled “We Choose to Go to the Moon,” Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company developed this performance in collaboration with NASA. The piece explores the connection between humanity and space, touching upon America’s idealism around the space race, the mystery of the cosmos, and the fragility of life.

We choose to go to the moon received rave reviews and standing ovations when it premiered at the Kennedy Center in 2015. The sound score features astronaut Bruce McCandless, space scientists, and a New Mexico medicine woman. Do not miss this opportunity to see this brilliant dance free!

Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company at the National Portrait Gallery
Dec. 12, 15, 18, 6:30 p.m.
McEvoy Auditorium (enter at G Street lobby)
Select your date and reserve your seats here