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Transformations: A Premiere Performance by the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company

May 6, 2023 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Registration is required to guarantee admission to this event in Keller Hall. Please click here to register.

This program will also be live streamed on the UNM Art Museum’s Youtube account. Registration is not required to watch online.

On Saturday, May 6th, 2023, the UNM Art Museum will host the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company to premiere a new modern dance entitled Transformations in the University of New Mexico’s Keller Hall. Transformations is inspired by the New Mexico-based Transcendental Painting Group. The program will begin at 4:00 PM with a panel discussion featuring Founding Artistic Director Dana Tai Soon Burgess, Costume Designer Patricia Michaels, and UNM Art Museum Director Arif Khan, with the performance to follow. The event will be recorded and simultaneously live streamed on the UNM Art Museum’s YouTube account.

Attendees are invited to join us for a reception and book signing in the Center for the Arts lobby, starting at 5:30 PM. Copies of Chino and the Dance of the Butterfly: A Memoir by Dana Tai Soon Burgess, published in 2022 by UNM Press, will be available for purchase. The UNM Art Museum will be open until 7:00 PM.

Dana Tai Soon Burgess, an alumnus of UNM’s Department of Theater and Dance, is a leading American choreographer and cultural figure. “As a UNM alumnus, it is wonderful to be back at the university working with the UNM Art Museum and to be interacting with its fine collection on this exciting project. It’s a homecoming,” said Burgess. He is currently based at the National Portrait Gallery where he explores the confluence of dance and portraiture. Burgess has performed, taught, and choreographed around the world. He founded the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company in 1992. It is the preeminent modern dance company in the Washington, D.C. region.

“My focus in choreography is often the confluence of dance and the visual arts. In creating Transformations, I was deeply moved by, not just the forms and colors present in the Transcendental Painting Group’s works, but also by their interest in the connection between abstraction and spirituality,” said Burgess. The Transcendental Painting Group was formed in Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico, in 1938. Many of the founding members have close ties to the UNM Art Museum.

Transformations is accompanied by a composition by Dane Rudhyar, performed live by pianist Dana Scott. “I chose Dane Rudhyar’s piano score Transmutation because of his association to the Transcendental Painting Group,” said Burgess. “The score is complicated. Its interlacing sections challenge the dancers as they move through space and seek to interact with one another like moving brushstrokes on a canvas.” World-renowned Fashion and Textile Designer, Patricia Michaels of Taos Pueblo, and her daughter Margeaux Abeyta, designed the costumes for Transformations.

This presentation of Transformations is made possible by a grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art and a gift by Robert and Janet Ford, with additional support from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Heinz und Liselotte Nehring Stiftung, National Endowment for the Arts, MediaDesk, New Mexico Humanities Council, UNM’s College of Fine Arts, and UNM Press. The UNM Art Museum would like to thank Rebecca Smith, Liz Rincon, and Richard Hess from the UNM College of Fine Arts for their assistance in presenting this program. 

About the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company

Now in its thirtieth season, Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company (DTSBDC) is the preeminent modern dance company of Washington, D.C. Its repertory focuses on identity in the context of historical events and personal stories, thereby connecting the shared human experience and showcasing cultural confluence. The members of the Company best reflect this mission as they themselves come from multicultural and diverse backgrounds. In addition to performances, touring and educational programs, DTSBDC is a leader in the national movement to collaborate with and perform at visual arts museums. In 2015, DTSBDC was named the Smithsonian Institution’s first-ever resident dance company. Based at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, DTSBDC creates new works inspired by cutting-edge exhibitions, hosts open rehearsals and provides an opportunity for audiences to experience dance as well as understand – and witness – its creative process. 

DTSBDC has a long history of artistic collaborations and partnerships with other organizations including: NASA, the U.S. State Department, National Gallery of Art, Kreeger Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and more. As a U.S. State Department cultural envoy, the company has toured extensively both nationally and internationally to five continents and over thirty countries such as Egypt, Israel, South Korea, China, India, Mongolia, Venezuela, Germany, Latvia, Ecuador, Panama, Mexico, Peru, Cambodia, the British Virgin Islands and Suriname. 

At home, DTSBDC has performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Arena Stage, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, the United Nations, the Asia Society, and at the White House at the invitation of President and First Lady Obama. Committed to the Washington Metropolitan area community, DTSBDC is an educational partner of Georgetown Day School.   

The chair of DTSBDC’s thirtieth Anniversary Season is Congressman Jamie Raskin. The thirtieth Anniversary of DTSBDC is dedicated to the memory of our dear friend, supporter, and board member, Dedi Liem Gunawan Hickory. For further information about the company visit dtsbdc.org. 

*DTSBDC’s Press Representatives are DKC/O&M, New York, Pete Sanders/Morgan Zysman. 

Meet the Performers

Christin Arthur (Dancer) is in her tenth season with the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company. Growing up in Salt Lake City, Utah, she studied classical ballet, modern, tap, character, jazz, and Korean traditional dance. Under the tutelage of Sharee Lane, she danced principal roles in the Ballet West Academy programs and corps de ballet roles as a Ballet West trainee. Ms. Arthur attended summer programs on full scholarship at the Berlin State Ballet School, Hong Kong International Ballet School, New Zealand School of Dance, Jacob’s Pillow, and the University of Utah. After graduating from the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C., in 2002, she joined the Universal Ballet Company in Seoul, South Korea, dancing classical roles in Swan Lake, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, Shim Chung, Don Quixote, Romeo and Juliet, and The Nutcracker, as well as contemporary roles in Ohad Naharin’s Minus 7 and soloist roles in Brian Yoo’s Colors and Paganini Rhapsody. Ms. Arthur has danced as a guest artist with Les Grands Ballets Des Canadiens, Columbia Classical Ballet, and South Carolina Contemporary Dance Company. She graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from George Mason University with degrees in Global Affairs and Chinese Language. She works full-time at the Obama Foundation, and is also a certified gyrotonic and pilates instructor. 

Joan Ayap (Dancer) is in her sixth season with the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company. She was born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Manila, Philippines. Ms. Ayap began her dance training at the Hilil-Cruz School of Ballet and the Philippine Ballet Theatre and Conservatoire. She received her B.S. in Interior Design from Assumption College, San Lorenzo, while pursuing a dance career. Her professional experience began with the Philippine Ballet Theatre, where she worked with acclaimed teachers and choreographers including Gener Caringal, Ronilo Jaynario, Anatoli Panasiukov, Enrico Labayen, Tony Fabella, Maiqui Mañosa, and Graham Lustig, among others. In Washington, D.C., she has performed with Bowen McCauley Dance and DC Contemporary Dance Theatre. She is also a former American Rhythm Pro Multi-Divisions competitor. Ms. Ayap is on faculty at Georgetown Day School and CityDance.

Christine Doyle (Managing Director & Dancer) was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, where she trained at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts under the direction of Phyllis Penney and Rhonda Stampalia, and at the Florida Ballet under the direction of Laurie Picinich-Byrd. After graduating from Florida State University with a B.A. in International Affairs, she relocated to Washington, D.C. Ms. Doyle has been teaching ballet to all ages in the region since 2013. She has taught at the Kirov Academy of Ballet, Georgetown University, American Dance Institute, Metropolitan Ballet Theatre, and Georgetown Day School. For the past seven years, she was the Assistant Director at Maryland School of Dance. She is currently on faculty at Mid-Maryland Performing Arts Center and District Dance and is in her seventh season performing with the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company. 

Aaron Mancus (Dancer) is in his second season with the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company. He was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and trained in mainly classical ballet and contemporary dance for 14 years. Mr. Mancus recently graduated from The George Washington University with a degree in International Affairs and Dance.

Felipe Oyarzun Moltedo (Technical Production Director & Dancer) is in his tenth season with the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company. Mr. Moltedo is from Santiago, Chile. He began dancing at the age of 12 and has since received several awards and distinctions, among others, Chile’s Best Dancer Inter-American Circle of Dance Professionals Award. In Santiago, Mr. Moltedo ran his own company, which led to multiple national and international tours. He holds a BFA in Dance, an M.A. in Dance Education with honors from the University of Chile, and an MFA in Dance from The George Washington University Department of Theatre and Dance. Currently, Mr. Moltedo is the lower middle school dance program director and teaches modern dance for middle and high school at Georgetown Dance School.

Valerie Peña (Dancer) is in her second season with the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company. She is originally from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where she trained at the Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Saucon Valley Dance Conservatory, and the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts. Ms. Peña is currently working towards a degree in Political Communication and Dance at the George Washington University. 

Justin Rustle (Dancer) is in his first season with the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company. Originally from Maryland, Mr. Rustle began dancing in a creative movement class at the Liz Lerman Movement Exchange with Gesel Mason, and went on to receive his formative training at Maryland Youth Ballet. Justin holds a BFA in Dance Performance from Butler University, and an M.A. in Performance Studies from the TISCH School of the Arts at New York University. He has previously danced with companies including Ballet Arkansas and Bowen-McCauley Dance Company, as well as appearing as a guest artist and teacher across the United States. Justin has performed work by choreographers including Nacho Duato, Paul Taylor, George Balanchine, Gerald Arpino, Harrison McEldowney, Darelle Grand Moultrie, Kiyon Gaines Ross, and Ilana Goldman, as well as roles across the classical repertoire. He has also been a contributing writer to the DC Dance Journalism Project.  

Aleny Serna (Dancer) is in her third season with the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company. She was born in New Jersey, but lived in Asia for 12 years where she received most of her formal dance training in classical ballet and contemporary. Ms. Serna has a degree in Exercise Science and Dance from George Washington University and is currently on faculty at Georgetown Day School.

Dana Nichole Scott (Pianist) is a classically trained musician in the Washington, D.C., area with a talent and passion for creating dynamic music. A collaborative pianist, music director and conductor, she primarily leads productions in opera and musical theatre. She also collaborates with choral, orchestral, and a variety of other ensembles as accompanist and conductor. 

Ms. Scott began developing her musical career at a young age. Early in her career, Ms. Scott won several competitions, and had the opportunity to explore her skills at Disney as a musical cast member. In pursuit of this career, Ms. Scott earned a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from New England Conservatory and a Master of Music in Collaborative Piano from the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University. Ms. Scott has enjoyed traveling to work with master artists, premiering and recording new works, and exploring the intersection of music and dance.  

Ms. Scott’s clientele includes: the Kennedy Center, Washington National Opera, George Washington University, American University, the Washington Choral Society, the Cathedral Choral Society, Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, University of Maryland Baltimore County, the Maryland State Boychoir, and Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company – to name a few. She also accompanies singers and choirs in competitions and recitals. In addition to her professional work as a performing musician, Ms. Scott serves as an educator at Sandy Spring Friends School, Sandy Spring, Maryland, and is also the Associate Music Director at University United Methodist Church in College Park, Maryland.  

Dana Tai Soon Burgess (Founding Artistic Director) is a leading American choreographer and cultural figure. The Washington Post Pulitzer Prize winning dance critic Sarah Kaufman writes of Burgess, “Not only a Washington prize, but a national dance treasure.” The Smithsonian named Burgess its first ever choreographer-in-residence in 2016. He is based at the National Portrait Gallery where he explores the confluence of dance and portraiture. Burgess has performed, taught, and choreographed around the world. He founded the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company in 1992. It is the preeminent modern dance company in the Washington, D.C., region. He is the host of slantpodcast.com which explores the lives and creative processes of prominent Asian American artists. Three portraits of Burgess reside in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian as well as his family archive. He is the 2021 recipient of the Selma Jeanne Cohen Fulbright Dance Lecturer Award.

Patricia Michaels (Costume Designer) of Taos Pueblo is a world-renowned Fashion and Textile Designer. She has studied at the Institute of American Indian Arts, 4-years independent studies at the Chicago Art Institute, with Nick Cave as her mentor, she worked at the Santa Fe Opera in the costume department and with an Italian tailor in Milano, Italia. 

Recently she designed costumes for Opera Lafayette, for the opera Silvain which opened at the Kennedy Center. Her 2022/2023 jewelry, silk scarves and bomber jackets can now be purchased at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City. Her new costumes designed for the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company will travel to the UNM Art Museum in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles, California, and to the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. A beautiful gown titled “Recollections of My Journey To Blue Lake” was purchased for the Peabody Essex Museum’s permanent collection after being included in the “Contemporary Taos Art Show” at the Harwood Museum in Taos, New Mexico. The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art has an image and written statement about her fashion and textiles in their book “Fashioning America.” Additional publications include: “Native Fashion Now” and “Remarkable Woman of Taos.” 

She was the first Native American designer for Season 11’s Project Runway where she was the runner up and then went onto Project Runway All Stars. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian awarded her the first inaugural “Arts and Design Award” in NYC, she was a speaker at the Bill & Melinda Gates Scholar Foundation, amongst her many other accolades. 

Her works as a Native CEO of the PMWATERLILY LLC, takes her to places around the world to places like, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, Europe, Asia and at least twice a year to New York City for fashion week to do fashion, lecture presentations, workshops, fundraisers, artist-in-residencies and inspirational speeches. 

She has completed a home collection for “AtkinHomes,” uniforms and boutique collections for Hotel Chaco in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as well as boutique collections for Malouf’s On the Plaza, Eldorado Hotel, Inn at the Spa Loretta in Santa Fe, and El Monte Sagrado in Taos, New Mexico. 

Ms. Michaels works as an activist for organizations like Missing & Murdered Indigenous People, Community Against Violence, American Indian College Fund, Big Brother Big Sister, Art Smart, Preservation of Indian Culture & Natural Resources. Social Media are key in keeping the original Native voice authentic. 

Her biggest driving force are her two beautiful children Mozart & Margeaux, the elderly, youth and empowering women. Her cottage industry encourages women’s voice, LGBT Community, Transgender Men, Transgender Women, and all races. 

As usual Ms. Michaels is occupied with many new developments. She is working on costumes for a new film to be announced and recently started a new organization to help the native fashion and textile industry “Native American Fashion & Textile Alliance.” Her works are continually emerging in 5 star resort hotels, museums, museum shops, and boutique galleries throughout the United States. She is actively working on the first Native American Opera as the Designer for Costumes and Sets. In between this she manages time for an active involvement with her Taos Pueblo cultural life ways and beliefs. For more information visit waterlilyfashion.com.

Margeaux Abeyta (Costume Designer) is a Native American artist born from New Mexico, currently living and working out of the Netherlands. With a three year study at the Maryland Institute of Arts, she focused on sculpture with a concentration in film. Graduating from the Design Academy Eindhoven with a BFA in Communication. Her work has evolved from traditional woodworking into digital fabrication, sound and technology design. Her more recent work explores narrative truths through globalist systems and traditional human values. As she is working on a large-scale geopolitical sculpture surrounding the issues of land ownership and tribal sovereignty. She continually explores the ways in which we reinvent and determine our realities through our own systems of governance and communication. 

Thank you to our sponsors:

This presentation of Transformations is made possible by a grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art and a gift by Robert and Janet Ford. Additional support comes from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Heinz und Liselotte Nehring Stiftung, the National Endowment for the Arts, MediaDesk, the New Mexico Humanities Council, UNM’s College of Fine Arts and UNM Press.


May 6, 2023
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Event Category:


Keller Hall, UNM Center for the Arts
203 Cornell Dr
Albuquerque, 87106 United States
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