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Playlist: Kim Sajet's Favorites

Compiled By: Kim Sajet

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The National Endowment for the Arts celebrates choreographer Dana Tai Soon Burgess

From National Endowment for the Arts | Part of the Art Works Podcast series | 27:29

Dana Tai Soon Burgess choreographs the American Experience.

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Dana Tai Soon Burgess is a critically acclaimed dancer and choreographer whose dances reflect the vibrant and diverse American landscape. When Burgess first began his dance company twenty-five ago, he was one of a few Asian-American choreographers. His dances very much spoke to the Amerasian experience—synthesizing Eastern and Western dance techniques, as he told stories of Korean  farm workers in Hawaii, or Chinese immigrants arriving at Angel Island.  His work struck a universal cord—and he’s seen as one of the country’s leading choreographers—creating dances for the Smithsonian, the Asia Society, Lincoln Center and the United Nations.  He’s performed extensively throughout the United States  and has served as cultural ambassador for the State Department, traveling with his company to countries as far-flung as Cambodia, Peru,  and Russia—teaching and creating dances for each place he visits.  In 2015, in partnership with NASA ,  he created” We Choose to Go to the Moon”—a dance inspired by space exploration.  And in 2016, he became the first ever choreographer in residence at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.  Not bad for a kid from Sante Fe who didn’t start dancing until he was a teenager.

A Portrait of War

From Hannah Krakauer | 20:52

A San Francisco artist takes on the ambitious project of drawing individual portraits of all the American soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Emilyprinceamerican1_small To the average person, the statistics of how many people are killed each day in the Iraq war can seem simultaneously overwhelming and superficial: the numbers are huge, but at the same time impossibly distant. How do we deal with understanding these statistics, and how can it impact us once we do? Emily Prince is a San Francisco artist who has taken up the task of drawing individual portraits of every single American solder killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. To date, she has drawn over 4,000 portraits--and is still going. She installs the piece on a 25-foot tall wall, placing each portrait relative to the soldier's hometown to form roughly the shape of the United States. Her work was recently featured at the Venice Biennial: one of the world's most important exhibitions for up-and-coming artists. This piece explores Emily's process in creating, developing, and continuing the project to draw all of the servicemen and women killed overseas. She discusses how the project has impacted her own understanding of the war's statistics, why she has chosen to do it the way she has, and ultimately her role as an artist and as a human being simply trying to relate to the abstraction of war and death.