Dana Tai Soon Burgess
“...Burgess has emerged as the area's leading dance artist, consistently following his own path and producing distinctive, well-considered works.”
-Sarah Kaufman,Washington Post
Dana Tai Soon Burgess is the director of Washington DC's premiere Asian American dance company. He was raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico by parents who are both visual artists. He received his initial dance training from Tim Wengerd and Judith Chazin-Bennahum. Vital to his aesthetic are his training in the Michio Ito technique (the first Asian American choreographer) as well as culturally specific dance forms and martial arts. Burgess has received critical acclaim for his unique synthesis of Eastern and Western aesthetics. The Washington Post says, “Burgess's work is food for the eye, spare, intimate and perfect as a pearl.”
His choreography has been presented and commissioned by the Smithsonian Institution, Asia Society- (NY), the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, La MaMa, NY and the United Nations. His work has been performed extensively throughout the United States as well as in, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Germany, India, Israel, Korea, Latvia, Mexico, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Russia and Venezuela. He received the District of Columbia Mayor's Arts Award in 1994 for Emerging Artist and in 2004 he received the Mayor's Award for Excellence in an Artistic Discipline. In 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2006 he received the Metro DC Dance Awards for Best Overall Production. Burgess has been an American Cultural Specialist for the United States State Department six times. He has taught dance technique and set work at the Hamburg Ballet School, King Sejong University-Korea, the Kirov Academy, the National Ballet of Peru, University of Panama, University of Venezuela and the Washington Ballet. He received a Senior Fulbright Grant in 2006 and 2008 to teach at the National University of San Marcos in Lima, Peru. He is currently an associate professor of dance at the George Washington University in the Columbian School of Arts and Sciences.
Burgess holds a Master's of Fine Arts from the George Washington University and received arts management training through the Kennedy Center's Capacity Building Program under the direct guidance of Michael Kaiser. Recent performances of his choreography include two Kennedy Center's national tours of The Nightingale as well as Tracings, an homage to the first Korean Americans commissioned by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program and the Kennedy Center. Tracingstoured to South America and Europe. Burgess's work inspired by the writings of Marguerite Duras entitled “Images from the Embers” toured throughout South America and South Asia. In the fall of 2007 his work opened the Kennedy Center modern dance series. Dana also tours internationally as a cultural ambassador for the Department of State, most recently to Israel, Egypt, and the West Bank.