We Choose to Go to the Moon Dance Performance
Join the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company, Washington D.C.’s preeminent modern dance company, for a performance of We Choose to Go to the Moon. 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 that still inspires our ideas about outer space today.
The score features nostalgic music from the 1950s and 1960s and interviews that convey various perspectives of the universe, from scientists and astronauts to cultural beliefs. The score also includes the voices of 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 and whose childhood best friend Tamara Jernigan became an astronaut.
Enjoy a post-performance conversation with Dana Tai Soon Burgess, choreographer and the dance company’s founding artist director, and Asma Naeem, Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director at the Baltimore Museum of Art.
“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard…” –President John F. Kennedy
Schedule & Tickets
6 p.m. – BMA Auditorium doors open
6:30-7 p.m. – Dance performance
7-7:30 p.m. – Conversation and Q&A with Dana Tai Soon Burgess and Asma Naeem
$10 BMA Members | $12 Non-Members
About Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company (DTSBDC)
Now in its 31st season, Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company (DTSBDC) is a culturally diverse company that performs dances that uplift, inspire, and bring new insights to seasoned dance lovers and new audiences alike in Washington, D.C., around the United States, and 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 Mayor’s Office of Asian Pacific Islander Americans, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and more.
Dana Tai Soon Burgess (Founding Artistic Director)
Dana Tai Soon Burgess 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.” Burgess directs the preeminent modern dance company of Washington, D.C. now in its 30th season. As the Company’s Artistic Director, his work explores the idea of cultural “confluence” with many of his dances focusing on the “hyphenated person”—someone who is of mixed ethnic or cultural heritage—and the emotions of belonging and societal acceptance. In 2016, the Smithsonian named him the first ever choreographer-in-residence. Three portraits of Burgess reside in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian as well as his family archive. He is also the host of slantpodcast.com, which explores the lives and creative processes of prominent Asian American artists.
Burgess has served as a Cultural Ambassador for the U.S. State Department for over two decades, an appointment he uses to promote international cultural dialogue through “the global language of dance.” He has been awarded and completed two Fulbright Senior scholarships for dance. He has also recently received two prestigious awards—the Selma Jeanne Cohen Dance Lecture Award and the Aaron Stein Memorial Award. His new memoir, Chino and the Dance of the Butterfly, received a Silver Medal IPPY Award in 2023. Burgess is a professor emeritus of dance.
Christin Arthur (Dancer) is in her eleventh season with 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 worked in development at the Obama Foundation for over three years and currently works at Emerson Collective as a member of the Research & Impact team. She is also a certified Gyrotonic and Pilates instructor.
Joan Ayap (Dancer) is in her seventh season with 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 BS 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) is in her eighth season performing with Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company. She 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 BA 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 is the Managing Director for Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company.
Trevor Frantz (Dancer) is starting his first year with Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company. Trevor was born in Bucks County, PA, where he pursued performing arts and dance throughout his childhood. He continued his dance education at the George Washington University, where he earned a dance minor along with a BFA in interior architecture. He now works full time as an interior designer.
Felipe Oyarzun Moltedo
Felipe Oyarzun Moltedo (Technical Production Director, Répétiteur, & Dancer) is in his 12th season with 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 MA 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 in the middle and high school at Georgetown Dance School.
Yvonne Faith Russell
Yvonne Faith Russell (Dancer) is in her first season with Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company. She started her dance journey at Green Hills School of Dance in Nashville, TN. At 10 years old, she began her formal training at Nashville Ballet and continued her education at The University of Alabama, where she graduated summa cum laude with a major in dance and a double minor in English and creative writing. She manages two careers in publishing and performing arts and is the author of A Word to the Wise: Lessons I Learned at 22 and Mature & Complete: A Devotional Journal for Healing, Value, and Satisfaction in Christ. Yvonne Faith has worked both in front of and behind the camera, producing and performing in various dance films as well as music videos. In 2018, she was awarded “Best Performance” in the Dance Alabama Film Festival by an internationally acclaimed group of judges. Yvonne Faith has performed with Shackled Feet Dance, Aru Dell’Arte, Janusphere Dance Company, UpRooted Dance, and others in her professional journey.
Justin Rustle (Dancer) is in his second season with Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company. Originally from Maryland, Justin 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 MA 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 is also a contributing writer covering dance for Maryland Theatre Guide.
Aleny Serna (Dancer) is in her fourth season with 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.
Baylee Wong (Dancer) is in her first season with Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company. Born and raised in Carmel, New York, Baylee Wong began her dance journey at age three. Baylee received training at Pinewood School of Dance, Fred Astaire, Joffrey Summer Intensive, AAB Summer Intensive, and Towson University. She learned various dance styles including ballet, tap, jazz, modern, and ballroom. In 2019, she took 1st at the Tri-State Dancesport Championship in youth rhythm open gold, competing in cha cha, rumba, bolero, mambo, swing, and samba. Baylee received a BFA in dance performance and choreography at Towson University and had the privilege of working with Linda-Denise Fischer-Harrell, Runqiao Du, Catherine Horta-Hayden, Vincent Thomas, Caroline Rocher Barnes, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar.