Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company. Photo by Jeff Malet.
Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company. Photo by Jeff Malet.

We Choose to Go to the Moon multimedia dance performance celebrates Spencer Finch Moon Dust (Apollo 17) installation at the BMA

“Well, space is there, and we’re going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there.”  –President John F. Kennedy

BALTIMORE, MD (February 15, 2024)—The Baltimore Museum of Art today announced the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company, Washington D.C.’s preeminent modern dance company, will present their illuminating multimedia dance performance, We Choose to Go to the Moon, at the BMA on Thursday, March 7 at 6:30 p.m. in honor of Spencer Finch’s impressive light installation Moon Dust (Apollo 17). The half-hour performance will be followed by a conversation with company founder and choreographer Dana Tai Soon Burgess led by Asma Naeem, the BMA’s Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director. Tickets are $12 ($10 for BMA Members) and available for purchase online or at the BMA Visitor Services Desk.

A reference to a line in President John F. Kennedy’s 1962 speech that launched the Space Race, We Choose to Go to the Moon is an ode to a generation that realized a dream and still inspires our ideas about outer space today. The score alternates nostalgic music from the 1950s and 1960s such as “Fly Me to the Moon,” “Stardust,” and “Catch a Falling Star” with documentary elements that convey various perspectives of the universe. The voices include Bruce McCandless II, a former Apollo Mission astronaut; Dr. Chryssa Kouveliotou, an astrophysicist who researches black holes, neutron stars, and gamma-ray bursts; Dr. Neil Gehrels, an experimental physicist working in astronomy; Dr. Jim Zimbelman, a National Air and Space Museum geologist who researches geo-logic mapping of Mars and Venus; and Mary Motah Weahkee, a Santa Fe-based medicine woman, anthropologist, and archeologist whose father was an electrician for the Apollo missions.

The dancers in this performance are Christin Arthur, Joan Ayap, Christine Doyle, Trevor Frantz, Felipe Oyarzun Moltedo, Yvonne Faith Russell, Justin Rustle, Aleny Serna, and Baylee Wong, who recently received her B.F.A. in dance performance and choreography from Towson University.

Spencer Finch’s Moon Dust (Apollo 17) (2009) is an abstract sculpture consisting of 150 individual chandeliers with 417 lights that is also a scientifically precise representation of the chemical composition of moon dust gathered during the Apollo 17 mission. Finch translated the diagrams of the chemical formulas of the molecules by using light bulbs in different diameters and fixtures with different arm lengths to create a three-dimensional scale model of the moon’s atomic makeup. The diameter of a globe corresponds to the size of an atom, with the smaller globes representing helium and the bigger oxygen. The overall effect is one of science translated into visual wonderment. On view since February 2018, Moon Dust (Apollo 17) is illuminating the BMA’s majestic Fox Court through October 14, 2024.

Moon Dust (Apollo 17) is on extended loan from the collection of Joanne Gold and Andrew Stern, who are generously sponsoring its presentation at the BMA.

Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company

Now in its 31st season, Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company (DTSBDC) is a culturally diverse company based in Washington, D.C. that performs dances that uplift, inspire, and bring new insights to seasoned dance lovers and new audiences alike around the world. DTSBDC creates and performs modern dances that explore the idea of cultural and artistic confluence—the flowing together of diverse perspectives, histories, and traditions that results in shared audience understanding. The Washington Post says of the company, “not only a Washington prize, but a national dance treasure.” DTSBDC is a leader in the national movement to collaborate with and perform at visual arts museums as well as theaters. In 2015, DTSBDC was named the Smithsonian Institution’s first-ever resident dance company. This year, the company begins a series of new residencies including a yearlong “social impact” residency at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. DTSBDC has a long history of artistic collaborations and partnerships with other organizations including NASA, the U.S. State Department, National Gallery of Art, the Kreeger Museum, the DC Mayor’s Office of Asian Pacific Islander Americans, and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

About the Baltimore Museum of Art

Founded in 1914, the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) inspires people of all ages and backgrounds through exhibitions, programs, and collections that tell an expansive story of art—challenging long-held narratives and embracing new voices. Our outstanding collection of more than 97,000 objects spans many eras and cultures and includes the world’s largest public holding of works by Henri Matisse; one of the nation’s finest collections of prints, drawings, and photographs; and a rapidly growing number of works by contemporary artists of diverse backgrounds. The museum is also distinguished by a neoclassical building designed by American architect John Russell Pope and two beautifully landscaped gardens featuring an array of modern and contemporary sculpture. The BMA is located three miles north of the Inner Harbor, adjacent to the main campus of Johns Hopkins University, and has a community branch at Lexington Market. General admission is free so that everyone can enjoy the power of art.

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