For dancers performing in museums, first rule is: Don’t bump into art

It’s a Sunday evening, an hour before closing, and people are still lingering at the National Portrait Gallery. But they’ve migrated away from art on the walls.

Instead, some 300 visitors fill the adjoining courtyard, where the gallery’s resident choreographer, Dana Tai Soon Burgess, is presenting his new dance, titled “Surroundings: A Tribute to Maya Lin.” Soft evening light filters through the glass ceiling. In beautifully draped and billowy costumes, eight dancers evoke mysterious relationships and fragmented emotional states, accompanied by musicians including a soprano, tenor, pianist and cellist.

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