Dana Tai Soon Burgess Debut at Portrait Gallery (photos)

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Felipe Oyarzun Moltedo and Joan Ayap perform in "I am Vertical" at the National Portrait Gallery. Photo by Jeff Malet.

“I am Vertical,” a new work of contemporary dance by choreographer Dana Tai Soon Burgess based on the “One Life: Sylvia Plath” exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., premiered in the museum’s Kogod Courtyard on Dec. 7 and Dec. 10.

Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) was an American poet, novelist and writer of short stories. She is credited with advancing the confessional poetry genre and won a posthumous Pulitzer Prize in 1982. “One Life: Sylvia Plath,” on view through May 20, is the first exploration of the poet and writer’s life in an art and history museum.

“The perspective of the dance is Sylvia Plath’s perspective, of seeing the different facets of her own personality of different important moments in her life which impacted not only her emotional terrain but also her creative ingenuity. She is both a participant and voyeur in many ways in this dance,” said Dana Tai Soon Burgess upon introducing his work. Both Sylvia Plath and her husband, Ted Hughes, with whom she had a very passionate and toxic relationship, were portrayed by multiple dancers.

View Jeff Malet’s photographs from the Dec. 10 performance of “I Am Vertical” by clicking on the photo icons below.

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