“Like visual poetry, Chen’s phrases… embodied an epic dignity.”
the Village Voice
Bridging the grace of Asian elegance and American dynamism, the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company is a premier provider of innovative cultural experiences that reflect the inspiring hope and energy of the immigrant’s journey. The company’s ground-breaking works have focused on themes from ancient Chinese legends that reflect issues of the present time to purely abstract, contemporary dances inspired by the art of Chinese calligraphy. An Asian American company that celebrates the cross-cultural experience, the Company’s productions naturally bring forth issues of identity, authenticity, and equality.
Choreographer/Dancer, Nai-Ni Chen is a unique choreographer whose work crosses many cultural boundaries. Each of her dance reflects her personal vision as an American artist with deep roots in the Asian culture, working on new dances influenced by cultures around the world, reaching beyond the perceived limitations of time, distance, and traditions. The company’s accomplishments are evident in its extensive performance schedule and its powerful and elegant productions which have been presented at some of the most prestigious concert halls such as the Joyce Theater in New York, Lincoln Center, Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in California, the Raymond F. Kravis Center, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center in Florida, and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center as well as appearing on a number of television specials on PBS/NJN, ABC, WNYC and others as well as eight international tours spanning the globe.
Commissioned dances from the company include Peach Flower Landscape for the Lincoln Center Institute, Qian Kun for the Joyce Theater Foundation, Unfolding for Dancing in the Streets, The Three Riddles of Turandot for New Jersey Ballet, Unconquered Warriors for Dancing Wheels, and Water and Tiger Lily for Ballet Met, The Way of Five – Fire for Townson University; Dragons on the Wall, a collaboration with Nobel Literature nominee Bei Dao and internationally acclaimed composer Joan La Barbara for the Alternate Roots Festival curated by Baraka Sele of New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
Advancing Dance Education, the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company is currently in residence in New Jersey City University creating a new dance program for the university in collaboration with the Joffrey Ballet School as well as pioneering a program with the University’s A Harry Moore Laboratory School on teaching dance to children with multiple disabilities. In addition to these educational activities, the company has an award-winning Arts in Education residency programs in urban school districts to bring culture and arts into educational settings Nai-Ni Chen’s assembly and residency program, the Art of Chinese Dance for Chinese American heritage education has been selected by the Chinese Language Teacher’s Association for Primary and Secondary Schools as a new model for collaborative language and arts education.
Programs of the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company are made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Jersey Cultural Trust, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Hyde and Watson Foundation, E.J. Grassman Trust, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, the Cultural Ministry of the People’s Republic of China, the Live Music for Dance Program of New Music USA, the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, the Rapid Response Program of American Dance Abroad, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters’ Cultural Exchange Fund, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, PSEG, Proskauer, WAC Lighting and the Glow Foundation.
More About Nai-Ni Chen Dancers Collaborators Board & Staff