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