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DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Congratulates Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company on Smithsonian Residency

Monday, October 28, 2013
First ever dance company in residence at the Smithsonian

The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) congratulates FY 2014 Artist Fellowship grant recipient Dana Tai Soon Burgess on the first ever performing arts residency at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.  The Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company will serve as artists-in-residence in conjunction with the museum’s “Dancing the Dream” exhibition.  Their first work, titled “Homage,” will be presented on November 16, 2013 and is inspired by the museum’s collection.

In 1994, Dana Tai Soon Burgess also received the Mayor’s Arts Award for Outstanding Emerging Artist, and in 2005 his dance company received the Mayor’s Arts Award for Outstanding Artistic Excellence. He also received an Artist Fellowship grant in FY 2013.

“Dana continues to grow and represent the District of Columbia as one of its leading artists in dance,” said Lionell Thomas, Executive Director of DCCAH. “The Commission is proud to support his work, and commend him and his company on their historic partnership with the Smithsonian.”

A second dance piece will be rehearsed and performed at the National Portrait Gallery in March and April 2014.  More information can be found online at the museum’s website, www.npg.si.edu.

About Dana Tai Soon Burgess

Described by Washington Post dance critic Sarah Kaufman as “not only a Washington prize, but a national dance treasure” and “poet laureate of Washington dance,” Burgess has for two decades exposed local, national and international audiences to a unique fusion of contemporary dance, ballet lines, martial arts style and gesture and visual arts, receiving critical acclaim for synthesizing Eastern and Western aesthetics. 

Having grown up in Santa Fe as the son of an Irish-Scottish-American father from upstate New York and a Korean-American mother from Hawaii, Burgess has a personal interest in issues of identity, immigration, belonging and cultural acceptance, as seen in such works as “Becoming American,” “Hyphen,” “Island,” and “Chino Latino.” His company includes dancers from diverse backgrounds – Bolivian, Colombian, Cuban, Irish, Korean, Japanese and Peruvian. In addition, Burgess has served for 16 years as a U.S. State Department cultural ambassador, traveling with his company to Chile, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Israel, Jordan, Korea, Latvia, Mexico, Mongolia, Panama, Peru and Venezuela, among other places.

Burgess has also performed and taught in Maryland, New Mexico, Tennessee, New York and Virginia. Closer to home, he is chair of George Washington University’s Department of Theatre and Dance.  Burgess and his company have received numerous awards including the Mayor’s Arts Awards.

About the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities

The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities provides grants, professional opportunities, education enrichment, and other programs and services to individuals and nonprofit organizations in all communities within the District of Columbia. The Arts Commission is supported primarily by District government funds and in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.