courtesy Korean Cultural Center
From an email:
“A new exhibition, “Ancestry, Artistry, Choreography,” tells the story of the rise of Korean-American choreographer Dana Tai Soon Burgess to international prominence by tracing his cultural heritage and the ways it has influenced his work. On view at the Korean Cultural Center (2370 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.), the exhibition opens Nov. 7 at 6:30 p.m. with a free performance by Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company, remarks by the choreographer and a public reception. Sponsored by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, the exhibition continues through Nov. 30.
Dana Tai Soon Burgess grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the son of visual artists, Joseph James Burgess Jr. and Anna Kang Burgess. His ancestors on his mother’s side were among the first Koreans to settle in America when they arrived in Hawaii from Korea in 1903. His great-grandfather Chin Hyung Chai (on his maternal grandmother’s side) arrived in 1903 aboard the Gaelic, which was known as the “first ship,” and his great-grandfather Man Soon Kang (on his maternal grandfather’s side) arrived in 1904 on the ship Manchuria. In Hawaii, they became plantation workers.
About the Exhibition
The exhibit explores the history of Burgess’ family through such artifacts as his grandfather’s 1903 passport, photos representing four generations of family members, pastel paintings by his father and watercolor and ink works by his mother. Also on view are 25 large photos of DTSB Dance Company taken during its 22-year history, costumes and props used in performance, and video of Burgess’ work, “Tracings,” which tells the story of his great-grandmother’s decision to leave Korea to begin a new life.
About Dana Tai Soon Burgess
Founded in 1992, Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company is Washington, D.C,’s premier contemporary dance company. Burgess has been 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.” Having grown up as the son of an Irish-Scottish-German-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.
For 22 years, Burgess has exposed audiences around the world to his unique fusion of contemporary dance, ballet lines, martial arts style and gesture and visual arts, receiving critical acclaim for synthesizing Eastern and Western aesthetics.”