Dana Tai Soon Burgess: The universal language of dance

Full Frame

Dana Tai Soon Burgess Korean-American choreographer Dana Tai Soon Burgess strives to use dance as a universal language.

He has been called a “national dance treasure”.

Korean-American choreographer Dana Tai Soon Burgess has led his Washington, D.C.-based dance troupe, the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company, in performances on stages all around the world, inspiring audiences everywhere with his unique creative vision.

“I grew up in a much more Asian household than I did a stereotypically American household,” Burgess said. “Asian culture definitely influences me as a choreographer. I mean, it’s my heritage.”

Dana Tai Soon Burgess

Dana Tai Soon Burgess

Choreographer Dana Tai Soon Burgess uses dance as a universal language.

His recent work was inspired by photographs of the American Civil War, inspired by an exhibit of the Civil War photographs taken by American photographer, Alexander Gardner.

“Photographs are little captured moments in time, right? And they capture posture, and they capture facial expression, and they capture intensity,” Burgess said. “So, that’s what I want the dancers to do. Even though the dance itself is ephemeral, it lasts for just a moment; the choreography itself reflects what was historically going on at that moment in time.”

In this week’s Full Frame Close Up, we meet this American cultural ambassador who strives to use dance as a universal language, around the globe.

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