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K-12 Educational Residency

The Company has created some of the most celebrated arts-in-education programs through both our school-time and our family performances. For the past 15 years, strong demand for The Art of Chinese Dance, our school assembly program, has enabled us to reach over a hundred schools. We also have been developing long-term residency programs with partner schools in the tri-state area.

The Company’s break through arts-in-education project came in the development of a model curriculum in Union County, New Jersey. In 1997, PS 26, a new neighborhood school in the Elizabeth School District, and Westminster Academy, also in Elizabeth, became partners of the Company in creating an interdisciplinary curriculum with the participation of teachers, students, and the community. Ours is not only an arts program, it is integrated with Chinese-language study.

In November 2006, the Company took a bold step in its education programming, and began a new three-year teaching project at Shuang Wen Dual Language Academy (PS 184), a pioneering Chinese language school in Manhattan’s Chinatown.  The Company set out to bring not only traditional Chinese dance and culture to the students, but also to incorporate contemporary and creative dance into a uniquely created curriculum. The Company, through ten of its’ highly skilled teaching artists, lead workshops for grades 3-8, to a total of approximately 370 students weekly.  The project culminated each year in a joint performance showcase, by the students of Shuang Wen and a performance of Nai-Ni Chen’s work by the Company.

The Company then partnered with Litchfield Performing Arts, Inc.  to develop Project Poetry Live. Project Poetry Live was a year long residency in Litchfield, CT for various schools in the area that combined music, dance and poetry. Based on poetry written by the students, the Company choreographed dances that gave them the opportunity to express the emotions presented in their words through physical movement. The Company then collaborated with a composer to create the accompanying music all performed by the students. These pieces fit together to present a large end of the year performance.

Our most exciting arts-in-education activity in 2009 was our project called Poetry in Motion at Union County Academy for the Performing Arts. Similar in many ways to Project Poetry Live if not for the presence of  Poet Arthur Wilson. The Company hired Mr. Wilson to guide and inspire the students through their voice, both vocal and written. Meanwhile, one of our company members taught them to express emotion through movement using the students’ poetry as a reference.

The Company has also participated in Diversity Week at Bristol Consolidated School in Pemaquid, Maine. The Company worked with the entire school creating a 40-minute program called, China’s Diverse Legacy.  The project took place over one week during which two of the company’s dancers worked closely with students in classes every day. The students were then taught traditional Chinese dance with props, followed by Question & Answer sessions. The Bristol Consolidated School has been doing residencies like this one for over ten years, and in that year, with the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, they had the largest number of students participating in their Diversity Week show.

For more information on our educational programs call (800) 650-0246 or email info@nainichen.org.