Press Room

For Press Inquiries, contact Camille Cintrón Devlin, Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications at 703-993-8794 or


November 21, 2003
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

For general information about tickets, seating, parking, etc., for performances and events happening at the Center for the Arts, please contact the ticket office directly at 703-993-2787.

Hans Christian Andersen’s
The Kennedy Center
Conceived and choreographed by
Dana Tai-Soon Burgess
Written and Directed by
Mary Hall Surface
Music Composed by
David Maddox
Sunday, December 21, 2003, 1PM & 4PM

"It is the pure dance music that works most of the magic. It is atmospheric and rhythmic so that, when it meets the children’s ears at the same time that the dancers' movements meet the children’s eyes the effect is mesmerizing"—Potomac Stages

FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA, NOVEMBER 21, 2003—Imagine that all the riches the world had to offer surrounded you: diamonds, gold, expensive cloth and other such delights. Imagine that your servants and courtiers fawned over your every whim and praised you for days on end. That is the life that our Emperor lives. He believes that he is the wisest person in the world until the Emperor of Japan challenges his world with…a Nightingale. This simple bird serves as the catalyst for a lesson in true beauty and compassion. Now, this charming Hans Christian Andersen fantasy, The Nightingale, is brought to life in a theatrical tour de force filled with dance, color, narrative, humor, action and joy, through the talents of choreographer Dana Tai Soon Burgess, writer/director Mary Hall Surface and composer David Maddox. This special holiday presentation from the Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration on Tour arrives at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall for two performances only – Sunday, December 21, 2003 at 1 & 4 p.m. Special holiday prices apply for this engagement: adult seats are $15, and children 12 and under are FREE.

Mr. Burgess’ Eurasian background has taken him on a personal journey to Asia, Latin America, South America, the Middle East and Europe in search of visual and movement images, which, in turn, have filtered into his work. He has received critical acclaim for his synthesis of Eastern and Western
aesthetics and is considered one of America's up and coming modern dance choreographers. "In the decade since he first arrived on the local dance scene," said Sarah Kaufman in The Washington Post, reviewing Burgess's new work Tracings, "his singularly light touch has rarely erred." After the world premiere of Tracings at the Kennedy Center, November 2003, Burgess was presented with the 2003 Pola Nirenska Award for excellence in dance. The award, named for one of the modern dance world’s matriarchs is given annually, and was established in 1993. The Post review declares the Nirenska Award was "never more richly deserved." Burgess is the 2001 recipient of the Metro DC Dance Awards for Best Artistic Director, and in 2001 was an American Cultural Specialist for the United States State Department abroad.

Dana Tai Soon Burgess is currently a faculty member at the George Washington University, Dance Place and Joy of Motion Dance Center. He was raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico by his parents who are both visual artists. He received his initial dance training from Tim Wengerd and Judith Chazin-Bennahum. Vital to his aesthetic was his training in the Michio Ito technique and repertoire, as well as culturally specific dance forms and Martial Arts.

The Nightingale was originally commissioned in 1997.
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Tickets for THE NIGHTINGALE are $15, children twelve and under are FREE. Charge by phone at 703-218-6500 or visit The Center for the Arts complex is located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the deck adjacent to the mainstage Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university lot K. Visit

GREAT PERFORMANCES AT MASON is a program of George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. The College of Visual and Performing Arts exists to create an academic environment in which the arts may be considered both as individual disciplines and as interdisciplinary forms that strengthen each other. Believing that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the College draws on a variety of professional presenting and producing units where artists from across the country and around the world regularly perform, give master classes, work with students during extended residencies, and interact with the community in a variety of other ways. These programs at the Center for the Arts Concert Hall, TheaterSpace, Galleries, Harris Theater, and other venues, provide a diverse selection of challenging and entertaining cultural experiences for the University community, as well as Northern Virginia and the greater Washington, D.C. area. The College houses four academic departments: Art and Visual Technology, Dance, Music and Theater.

The combination of the Kennedy Center's commitment to presenting high quality productions and the Education Department's commitment to literacy gave life to what is now known as the Imagination Celebration® on Tour. The program began in 1992 at the request of two presenters wishing to bring high-quality family performances to their communities. From this request sprang the first national tour of The Red Badge of Courage, directed by Richard Thomas, which visited six states and entertained over 14,000 people. Today, over 1 million young people and their families had had the opportunity to experience Kennedy Center touring productions.