Leading American choreographer Dana Tai Soon Burgess and his husband Jameson Freeman have established an endowment for Dance at The University of New Mexico, Burgess’s alma mater. The Dana Tai Soon Burgess and Jameson Freeman Endowed Fund for Dance will support student learning, including student travel and lodging, as well as lodging, fees and other hospitality costs incurred to bring guest artists and guest speakers in the field of dance to the UNM Department of Theatre and Dance.

“We are grateful to Dana and Jameson for having the vision to give back to UNM and investing in our current and future dancers,” said Kymberly Pinder, dean, College of Fine Arts.

A native of Santa Fe, N.M., Burgess is the son of visual artists Joseph James Burgess, Jr. and Anna Kang Burgess. He studied dance and Asian History, graduating from UNM in 1990. As a student at UNM, he trained with Judith Chazin-Bennahum and Jennifer Predock-Linnell, who nurtured his natural talent for dance and his interest in choreography. He earned his MFA from George Washington University in 1994.

Dana Tai Soon Burgess’ career as a ground-breaking choreographer, dancer, performance artist and cultural figure has been the subject of critical acclaim around the world. He is the Smithsonian Institution’s first-ever choreographer-in-residence and serves as a cultural envoy for the US State Department. He has been referred to as “a national dance treasure” and the “poet laureate of Washington dance” by the Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning dance writer Sarah Kaufman. Dana founded the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company in 1992, now the preeminent modern dance company in the Washington, DC region.

The Dance Program at UNM endeavors to create knowledgeable and skillful dancers, guiding student academic and career goals to align with student affinities and abilities. We promote healthy physical practices in dance, encourage artistic exploration that can successfully encompass interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches to performance, enhance critical thinking skills that connect theory and practice, and provide an educational landscape that develops multicultural academic and artistic perspectives.

The vision of the program is to provide the most current, experimental, and sophisticated choreography curriculum and productions in the southwest, and to explore and value the rich tradition of dance history as a living legacy for the contemporary artist/scholar. The program promotes and utilizes national and international faculty connections for student academic and professional experience. For more information, visit the dance program website or contact Vladimir Conde-Reche: 505-277-4332, vreche@unm.edu