The University of New Mexico Art Museum will host the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company performing Transformations in Keller Hall on Saturday, May 6. Burgess is an alumnus of the UNM Department of Theater and Dance.

UNMAM dance company 2023

The program will begin in Keller Hall at 4 p.m. with a panel discussion featuring founding artistic director Burgess, costume designer Patricia Michaels, and UNM Art Museum Director Arif Khan. The event will be recorded and simultaneously live streamed on the UNM Art Museum’s YouTube account. 

The performance will follow immediately after the discussion. Transformations is inspired by the New Mexico-based Transcendental Painting Group.

Attendees are invited to a reception and book signing after the performance in the Center for the Arts lobby starting at 5:30 p.m. 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 p.m.

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

Burgess 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," Burgess said. 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 DTSBDC 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 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 Abeytadesigned 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.