Dana Tai Soon Burgess
“Burgess is an expert at directing the eye”
Sarah Kaufman, The Washington Post
Dana Tai Soon Burgess (Artistic Director and Choreographer) is a native of Santa Fe, New Mexico, studied with notable dancers, Tim Wengerd and Judith Bennahum, training in the Michio Ito technique (developed by the first Asian-American choreographer) and in martial arts. In 1992, Mr. Burgess established the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company; later he founded the DTSBDC Asian American Youth Program to mentor high school students. Described by Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post dance critic Sarah Kaufman as “not only a Washington prize, but a national dance treasure” and “poet laureate of Washington dance,” Mr. Burgess has for more than 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. As the son of an Irish-Scottish-German-American father from upstate New York and a Korean-American mother from Hawaii, Mr. Burgess has a personal interest in issues of identity, immigration, belonging and cultural acceptance. He has served for nearly 20 years as a U.S. State Department cultural ambassador, traveling around the world with his company. His works also have been performed in more than 200 American cities. Mr. Burgess is Chair of the Department of Theatre & Dance at The George Washington University, where he is an Associate Professor of Dance. He is a Mayoral appointed commissioner who serves on the DC Asian Pacific Islander Affairs Commission. In addition to receiving numerous awards, Mr. Burgess is the Choreographer-in-Residence at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, where his portrait hangs alongside modern-dance pioneers such as Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham and contemporary masters Twyla Tharp and Mark Morris. He was recently invited by President Obama to speak and perform at the White House.