The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery has chosen the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company as its first-ever choreographer in residence. I guess the big question here is: Why didn’t anyone think of this kind of pairing sooner?
It sounds like a match made in art heaven: DTSBDC is known for its diversity—its founder, Burgess, is a Korean-American raised in New Mexico, and the DC-based company’s dancers are Colombian, Chilean, Irish, Korean, Filipino and Peruvian. And the first piece Burgess will create is based around the Gallery’s triennial portrait competition winners. (Artists were invited to submit their best portraits; the winner receives $25,000 and gets to be in the Gallery’s permanent collection.)
DTSBDC performing Confluence in the National Portrait Gallery's Kogod Courtyard. Photo by Jeff Malet.
Burgess told The Washington Post that he thinks the museum has finally realized “that we wouldn’t fall into the artwork or knock a painting off the wall,” since he’s performed alongside artwork there before.
His new piece will premiere this fall, and his residency lasts three years. Patrons will be able to watch the performance in the exhibit space.