Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Recap: Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company at the National Portrait Gallery, Portraits of the World

DTSBDC Dancers

DTSBDC dancer Joan Ayap performing "Khaybet"
In March, the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company held a special dance salon series at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery this past month! Performed by dancers Ian Ceccarelli, Sarh Halzack, Ryan Carlough, Felipe Oyarzun, Joan Ayap, Christine Doyle, Christin Arthur, Sidney Hampton, and associate artistic director Kelly Moss Southall, the group showcased a combination of new and old dances inspired by the portraits in the gallery. 

DTSBDC dancer Sarah Halzack performing Michio Ito's "Ave Maria" and "Khaybet"

The first three dances, "Pizzicatti", "Ave Maria", "Tone Poem I" and "Tone Poem II" were originally choreographed in the early 1900's by Michio Ito, an early pioneer in modern dance and the first Asian American choreographer. He was forcefully incarcerated during World War II under Executive Order 9066 at an internment camp in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The portrait "Femme en Extasse"
The next piece "For Giulia" was choreographed by Burgess for the exhibition of "Femme en Extasse" by the Swiss painter Ferdinand Hodler, which is on loan in partnership with the Swiss Embassy. "Femme en Extasse" is a portrait of Italian dancer Giulia Leonardi, which is on loan in partnership with the Swiss Embassy in the United States. The dance company was honored to have the Swiss Ambassador Martin Dahinden introduce the first lecture-performance on March 3rd.

The last three dances - "Confluence", inspired by a gelatin silver print of Doris Humphrey by Barbara Morgan in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery's permanent collection, "Khaybet" inspired by Burgess' touring through the mountain villages between Pakistan and Afghanistan, and "Dariush" inspired by his trip through the Khyber Pass in upper Pakistan - were previously choreographed by Burgess, and powerful additions to the program.

Dana Tai Soon Burgess is the Smithsonian's first choreographer in residence, currently creating new works inspired by dynamic exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery. A portrait of Burgess by artist CYJO is part of the Gallery's permanent collection.