Renowned Korean American modern-dance choreographer Dana Tai Soon Burgess shares his deeply personal hyphenated world and how his multifaceted background drives his prolific art-making in Chino and the Dance of the Butterfly. The memoir traces how his choreographic aesthetic, based on the fluency of dance and the visual arts, was informed by his early years in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This insightful journey delves into an artist's process that is inspired by the intersection of varying cultural perspectives, stories, and experiences. Candid and intelligent, Burgess gives readers the opportunity to experience up close the passion for art and dance that has informed his life.
Dana Tai Soon Burgess is a leading American choreographer, arts administrator, and cultural figure known worldwide as the "Diplomat of Dance." In 1992 he founded the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company, the preeminent modern dance company in Washington, DC. Burgess has been the Smithsonian Institution's first-ever Choreographer-in-Residence based at the National Portrait Gallery. He has served as a Cultural Ambassador for the US State Department for over two decades, has received two Senior Fulbright scholarships for dance, and was awarded the Selma Jeanne Cohen Award in 2021. He and his husband, Jameson, live in the nation's capital with their dogs, Bana and Dali.
"A deft weaving of the author's experience with self-discovery as he realizes a life as a dancer and artist."--El Palacio
"Burgess makes art with movement. His memoir illuminates how he has navigated his hyphenated world as a gay Asian American man and his metamorphosis as an artist. Finding strength in diversity, his artmaking brings multiculturalism, social justice, and equity to the forefront in the universal language of dance. His voice is honest, open, and important."--George Takei
"Dana Tai Soon Burgess has written a memoir as intimate, delicate, and, ultimately, beautiful as the dances he creates. Anyone interested in how an artist develops should read this book."--Michael M. Kaiser, president emeritus of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
"Dana Tai Soon Burgess is a spellbinding storyteller in words no less than movement. With this memoir, he entrances readers as he has so long entranced audiences, with scene after scene of an extraordinary and transformative life."--Susan Choi, author of Trust Exercise: A Novel
"An inspiring journey of an Asian American artist's transformation from truly humble beginnings to become one of the most distinct voices in American modern dance. Dana Tai Soon Burgess shares the experiences that shaped him as a performer and choreographer, from his encounters with famous artists to his creative challenges, writing with grace, humor, and insight."--Laurel Victoria Gray, founder of the award-winning Silk Road Dance Company
"With wonder, appreciation, and self-deprecating humor, choreographer Dana Tai Soon Burgess recalls how he became a dancer and founded his distinctively Asian American dance company. The book describes how dance, evoked by the flight of the monarch butterfly, can serve as the key to a fully lived life; the migrations of the monarchs symbolize the movement, transformation, and beauty of a life in the arts and a lifetime of learning and teaching."--Patricia P. Chu, author of Where I Have Never Been: Migration, Melancholia, and Memory in Asian American Narratives of Return