Dana Tai Soon Burgess

Photo of Dana Tai Soon Burgess
Professor of Dance,
Theatre & Dance Program
Bld. J, 2131 G Street NW
[email protected]


Dana Tai Soon Burgess's work has tended to focus on the "hyphenated person" - someone who is of mixed ethnic or cultural heritage - as well as issues of belonging and societal acceptance. He serves as a cultural envoy for the US State Department, an appointment he uses to promote international cultural dialogue through "the global language of dance".

He has previously served on the Board of Asian American Arts & Media, as well as being a commissioner for the Commission for the Arts & Humanities for the District of Columbia and AAPI Affairs for Washington, D.C. At the time he founded his dance company, Burgess also established the Moving Forward: Asian American Youth Program, which was a summer program for Asian American youth. The program still operates under the name DTSB Asian American Youth Program, and is a year-round mentoring program for high school students.

Burgess' work has focused on the immigrant experience and cultural divides, which has resulted in several of his performances being showcased on prominent State Department sponsored tours around the world. He has taught, lectured, performed and toured around the world in numerous countries including Surinam, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Korea, China, India, Pakistan, Mongolia, Venezuela, Germany, Latvia, Ecuador, Panama, Mexico, Indonesia, Peru, and Cambodia.


Current Outside Position

Professor Tai Soon Burgess is currently the Smithsonian Institution's First Choreographer in Residence and is housed at the National Portrait Gallery.


Distinctions & Publications

  • Two-time Senior Fullbright recipient
  • Awarded the Mayor’s Arts Award for Excellence
  • Commissioned by the National Ballet of Peru and Washington Ballet
  • Family & Personal archives are part of the permanent collection of the American History Museum
  • Portrait is a part of the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery
  • Dance works have been performed in numerous venues, including:
    • The Kennedy Center
    • La Mama
    • The United Nations headquarters
    • Dance Place
    • The Corcoran Gallery of Art
    • The Asia Society
    • The Lincoln Center Out of Doors
  • Speaking appearance & dance performance of original piece "Dariush" at the White House at the invitation of President Barack Obama in 2013 as part of National Asian & Pacific Islander Heritage Month
  • Choreography commissioned by Ballet Memphis and the Kennedy Center
  • Dance "The Nightingale" toured to over 70 American cities
  • 2008 surrealist work "Hyphen" was re-staged to be included alongside an orchestral multimedia performance called "KYOPO: Multiplicity" by CYJO in the museum's Kogod Courtyard in 2012



BUS in Dance and Asian History, University of New Mexico
MFA in Dance, The George Washington University
The "Directors of Color" Arts Management Training Program, Kennedy Center, Director: Michael Kaiser