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“A Tribute to Maya Lin” at the National Portrait Gallery

October 16, 2022 @ 8:00 am - October 30, 2022 @ 5:00 pm EDT

The company will debut a second new work titled “A Tribute to Maya Lin” Oct. 16, 23 and 30 in response to the museum’s exhibition, “One Life: Maya Lin,” dedicated to the life and work of the Asian American architect, sculptor and environmentalist. For inspiration, Burgess will examine Maya Lin’s design training and constructual and linear approach to art making and will choreograph an abstract dance for the entire company that is angular and architectural. The choreography will consider the lines of the dancers’ bodies and their movements in relation to the performance space. Performances will take place at 6 p.m.

All residency performances are free and open to the public in the museum’s Kogod Courtyard. Members of the public who are planning to attend are encouraged, but not required, to register online.  Media interested in attending should contact Gabbie Obusek at

The collaboration between the museum and modern dance company began when Portrait Gallery historian emeritus Amy Henderson invited Burgess to respond to its “Dancing the Dream” exhibition. Burgess choreographed that project in 2014, and the performances were followed by “The Foster Suite: The Remains of Loss and Longing” in 2015 in response to photographs by Alexander Gardner. DTSBDC’s official residency was established in 2016. To date, the company has developed eight newly conceived live performances and has restaged three preexisting performances (“Tracings,” restaged 2019; “Hyphen,” restaged 2011; and “We choose to go to the moon,” restaged 2018). Burgess has also hosted educational dance salons in the museum that guide viewers through the history of modern dance through performances and discussions.

Past performances developed during the company’s residency at the Portrait Gallery include:

  • “Margin” (2016), in response to “The Outwin 2016: American Portraiture Today”
  • “After 1001 Nights” (2017), in response to “The Face of Battle: Americans at War, 9/11 to Now”
  • “I Am Vertical” (2017), in response to “One Life: Sylvia Plath”
  • “Silhouettes” (2018), in response to “Black Out: Silhouettes Then and Now”
  • “A Tribute to Marian Anderson” (2020), in response to “One Life: Marian Anderson”
  • A suite of three duets “El Jaleo,” “Egyptian Woman” and “Madame X” (2020), in response to “John Singer Sargent: Portraits in Charcoal” (performed at the National Arts Club due to the COVID-19 pandemic)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Burgess and his company also premiered nine digital performances on the company’s and museum’s Instagram channels. These featured choreographic responses to prominent figures in the museum’s “The Struggle for Justice” exhibition, such as Marian Anderson, Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez, Rosa Parks and George Takei.

National Portrait Gallery

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the multifaceted story of the United States through the individuals who have shaped American culture. Spanning the visual arts, performing arts and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives tell the nation’s story.

The National Portrait Gallery is located at Eighth and G streets N.W., Washington, D.C. Smithsonian Information: (202) 633-1000. Connect with the museum at and YouTube.


October 16, 2022 @ 8:00 am EDT
October 30, 2022 @ 5:00 pm EDT
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National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery
8th and F Streets NW
Washington, DC 20001 United States
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