Nai-Ni Chen Virtual Dance Institute
Experience the boundary-breaking dances from the BIPOC Community
Free 1-hour virtual class online Together on Zoom!
Open to All Dancers at an Intermediate/Advanced Level
meet the artists after the class
Nai-Ni Chen Hailed as a Spiritual Choreographer by Dance Magazine and recipient of multiple choreographic fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Nai-Ni Chen has been creating dances professionally for over thirty years in the United States. She has built a diverse repertory of over 80 original works and toured to major venues in the US and international contemporary dance festivals in 12 countries. She will be teaching her signature technique KINETIC SPIRAL which is a blend of the dynamic, ever-evolving spirit of contemporary dance and the grace and splendor of the Chinese artistic traditions.
Andrij Cybyk is American by birth, Ukrainian by heritage and Gypsy at heart. He began his dance training in Ohio, where he studied Ukrainian and Character dance with Dave Wozniak and Markian Komichak in the ensemble Kashtan and Ballet at the University of Akron Conservatory of Dance. Andrij Cybyk has devoted his professional career to the study and performance of traditional dance, largely of the Eurasian Region. He holds the title of Artist of Folk Ballet from the Virski School of Academic Ukrainian Folk Dance in Kyiv, Ukraine, and has taught for numerous organizations, including Dance Masters of America. Andrij has toured the world performing the traditional dances of the Eurasian region with companies such as Riverdance, the Duquesne University Tamburitzans, Nai Ni Chen Dance Company, ALLNATIONS Dance Company, Barynya, and Michael Mao Dance, among others. He is the former Artistic Director of the Syzokryli Ukrainian Dance Ensemble of NYC and the current Artistic Director of the Iskra Ukrainian Dance Ensemble and Academy of Whippany, NJ. Andrij holds a BA in Philosophy and Psychology from Duquesne University.
Andrew Pacho was teaching Staff with the Nai-Ni Chen company in China 2015. He started his career as USA National level competitor in Gymnastics then trained to become a professional dancer. Highlights include working with Mark Morris, Donald Byrd Company, Philodanco, Doug Elkins, Lar Lubovich, Micheal Swain, Graciella Daniele, Bill Irwin, Gillian Lynne, Peter Sellars, Graham Murphy, Harold Prince, Jerry Mitchel, Robert Lepage as well as several productions on Broadway, Metropolitan Opera, NYCO, Radio City Music Hall. He was also in the Woody Allen film Everyone says I love you and many TV Commercials. Mr. Pacho co-founded the Gymnastics dance company ANTI-GRAVITY, working as co-director and choreographer. Mr. Pacho also has a long-standing working relationship with Lios Greenfield, Renowned Dance photographer.
Barkha Patel is an Indian classical Kathak dancer, choreographer, and educator. As a preservationist of Kathak dance, Barkha believes in sharing stories through abhinaya, deep facial expressions, and nritta, traditional and innovative movement. Recently, Barkha completed her choreographic fellowship with Jersey Moves and received the prestigious Choreographer Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. As an educator, Barkha conducts dance classes and master workshops in New York and New Jersey.
Candace Jarvisa member of the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company. Candace was originally from Brampton, Ontario, started her professional training at Bold Dance Company under the direction of Emilio and Stephanie Macri. She continued her training at The Ailey School as a Certificate Student. She has performed works by many choreographers including Amy Hall, Tracy Inman, Carlos Dos Santos and Norbert De La Cruz III. In 2013 Ms. Jarvis performed in Alvin Ailey’s Revelations Cast of 50 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and took part in Robert Battle’s New Directions Choreographers Lab at The Ailey School. Ms. Jarvis was a former member of Awaken Dance Theater under the direction of Rebekka Nodhturft. In 2015 she earned her Certificate of Honors from The Ailey School Certificate Program.
Christian Mintah is a dancer/choreographer trained in Ghanaian (West African) traditional dances, African Contemporary dances, and popular African dance (now commonly known as Afrobeat dance). He has choreographed for singer Adina from Ghana and worked with Lil Shaker and Kojo Que of BBnZ Live of Ghana in the official dance video for the song Mamayie. Christian also performed in many dance productions and music videos such as katso, Asem yi dika, wogb3j3k3, Dum Drum and Use Your Head. Currently, Christian is a third-year MFA in contemporary dance at Case Western Reserve University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Information Studies and Dance studies from the University of Ghana.
Eun-Kyung Chung holds a BFA and an MA in Dance from Ehwa University om Seoul. Mrs. Chung is an ABT® Certified Teacher, and a certified Gyrotonic® and Gyrokinesis® trainer. Ms. Chung was a principal dancer at Seoul Ballet Theatre. She moved to Germany in 2010 and joined Mainfranken Theater Würzburg and Landestheater Coburg as a principal dancer and choreographer. Ms. Chung moved to the United States in 2016 and worked with Charlottesville Ballet Company, Traverse City Dance Project, Neglia Ballet, and TAKE Dance. She is currently a visiting professor at Randolph College, an adjunct faculty at Western Michigan University, and faculty at Ballet Kalamazoo.
Evan Matthew Stewart, originally from Buffalo, NY, is a principal dancer of the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company. He began his dance training at Miss Barbara’s School of Dance and at the age of ten continued to advance his training at David de Marie Dance Studio in styles varying from contemporary to tap and ballet to jazz. Evan also attended the Royal Academy of Ballet (Buffalo, NY) under the direction of Beth Waddell and while in college, attended the Joffrey School of Ballet New York City summer intensive to further his skills in ballet. In 2016, Evan graduated from the University of Buffalo with his BFA in dance and minor in counseling. During his time at the University at Buffalo, Evan was a member of the dance program’s pre-professional company Zodiaque under the direction of Thomas Ralabate and Tressa Gorman-Crehan. Since moving to NYC, Evan has had the opportunity to work with Ebony Williams and perform for her at Jacob’s Pillow. Evan is also a dancer in the upcoming film “In the Heights” directed by Jon Chu and choreographed by Chris Scott.
Greta Campo is the Associate Artistic Director of the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, She began her dance training in her native Milan at the Carcano Theater, where she was first introduced to Martha Graham’s work. She performed with the Martha Graham Dance Company in their 2012 New York Season and later on their international tour. Greta is a recipient of the 2016 Rising Star Award from the Fini Dance Festival.
Guru. Smt. Akhilaneshwari Akhila is a skilled artist in Nritta – Pure dance form, and rasabhinaya – aesthetic communication with creative interpretation of the lyrics and the music. She had decades of practice under great gurus and legends in Bharathanatyam. The vast amount of skills received by legendary tutors has made Akhila one of the most sought after talented and creative artists. She is the recipient of prestigious “Purandara Anugraha” Award – 2014 for her services in the dance field by TTD, Trust, Tirupati, Government of AP, India and has received various titles and awards from reputed organizations in recognition of her work in India & the USA.
Karen Love earned her MFA from New York University Tisch School of the Arts and her B.F.A. from Montclair State University. Love received her Yoga Certification (300hour) and Pilates Mat Certification in 2007. Ms. Love is a former faculty member in the Junior Division at The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, former Visiting Artist in Residence at Kent State University and a former adjunct professor at Montclair State University. In 2006, Love created Wofabe African Dance & Drum Festival, the only African dance & drum festival in the state of New
Jersey. Love is a Co-Chair for the NJPAC Dance Advisory Committee, a proud board member of DanceNJ, and a member of NDEO. September 2020, Love will begin her Nineteenth year as a dance educator in the Hillside Public School District.
Kerry Lee is the Co-Artistic Director of the Atlanta Chinese Dance Company and a former principal dancer of the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company. After graduating from Stanford University with an engineering degree and working for a top-ranked economic consulting firm, she followed her heart into the professional dance world in New York City. As a traditional Chinese and modern/contemporary dance artist, Kerry performed throughout the US and the British Virgin Islands with the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, H.T. Chen & Dancers, Dance China NY, and gloATL before returning home to co-lead the Atlanta Chinese Dance Company with her mother Hwee-Eng Y. Lee. Among other honors, Kerry was the only Chinese dancer among the finalists who received a ticket on So You Think You Can Dance Season 11. www.kerryylee.com
Melissa Roxey began her studies with The Royal Academy of Dance at five years of age. Before beginning her professional career at age 17, she trained at The School of American Ballet, North Carolina School of the Arts, The Joffrey Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet School, and with renowned teacher Maggie Black. Melissa danced with American Repertory Ballet as a soloist, then as a principal with Dayton Ballet Company. She has danced the roles of Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker and Odile in Swan Lake. Melissa has worked with such prominent choreographers as Septime Webre, Marjorie Mussman, Dermot Burke, Bill Craty, Suki Schorer, Christian Holder, Patricia McBride, and Mark Diamond. She has also served on the faculty of many ballet schools around the country. Melissa is co-founder and former dance director of Wheels in Motion, which was part of the Arts Access Program of Matheny Medical and Educational Center, Peapack. In addition, for more than 16 years she has worked with Artists in Residence, bringing the art of dance to area schools. Her extensive experience makes her an effective instructor in the Wheels and Bodies in Motion program. She is currently directing Roxy Ballet with her husband Mark.
Mary Verdi-Fletcher, President/Founding Artistic Director of the Dancing Wheels Company & School, has been a pioneering force in the development and success of physically integrated dance worldwide for four (4) decades. She founded the Dancing Wheels Company in 1980, and the School in 1990, offering full and equal access to the arts. The Worldwide Center for Integrated Dance & Arts Access is now most sought after for training. One of America’s first professional wheelchair dancers, she has worked with esteemed artists Donald McKayle, David Roussève, Dianne McIntyre, Dennis Nahat, Keith Young, Ben Vereen and Christopher Reeve. In her early career, she helped create the first Independent Living Center in Ohio. She also took a militant stand, capturing buses in Cleveland, to ensure people with disabilities could ride public transportation leading to every public bus in the nation being accessible. In 2014, Mary was awarded the Henry Viscardi Achievement Award, which pays tribute to exemplary leaders in the disability community.
Miki Orihara is known for her Bessie Award-winning career with the Martha Graham Dance Company. She has performed on Broadway, and with Elisa Monte, SITI Company, PierGroupDance, Lotuslotus and in productions by Rioult Dance, Twyla Tharp, Anne Bogart and Robert Wilson. She is a sought after teacher and coach working with the Kirov Ballet, Japan’s New National Theater Ballet School, the Ailey School, New York University, The Hartt School, L’ete de la Danse (Paris) and is Dance Director for Mishmash*Miki Orihara and Martha Graham Dance technique DVD(2018). Orihara is currently the curator /director of NuVu Festival.
Peiju Chien-Pott joined the Graham Company in 2011. She received the Positano Premia La Danza 2014 award for Best Contemporary Dancer, was named one of the year’s “Best Performers” in 2014 and 2017 by Dance Magazine, was an honoree of the “Women’s History Month” by Hudson County and received a 2017 Bessie award for Outstanding Performer. Ms. Chien-Pott has created lead roles by many of the world’s most celebrated choreographers including Nacho Duato, Mats Ek, and Andonis Foniadakis. She graduated with a BFA. from Taipei National University of the Arts, and has since been honored with their Outstanding Alumni Award. She recently received an Outstanding Dance Artist Award from the government of Taiwan.
Potri Ranka Manis Queano Nur is the Founder/Artistic Director and Tradition-Bearer of Kinding Sindaw, and a Storyteller). On July 23, 2005 Potri was enthroned as Bai a Labi a Gaus sa Borocot by the representatives from the 17 Pagawidan a Ranao in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur. Potri was born and raised in the Southern Philippines, she is a daughter of the late Sultan a Gaus of the Royale House of Borocot the 15th Pagawidan of the Pat Pengempong a Ranao. She also learned the traditions of the neighboring indigenous communities. She has written and directed many plays as a resident artist of LaMaMa. She founded Panata and co-authored and performed the Oratoyo-Bells of Balanggiga and acted a lead role in Dis-oriented, a feature film of Francisco Aliwalas. She was in Draupadi directed by Ellen Stewart, La Mama Great Jones Repertoire. She is an artist-teacher faculty of Lotus Fine Arts. She a practitioner of Theater of the Oppressed and a producer and actor in Newyorkustan directed by Steven de Castro. Potri is an artist-activist who campaigns for self-determination of the Moro and indigenous people.
Rei Akazawa-Smith was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, where she began her ballet training in the technique of Royal Academy of Dance under the direction of Yuko Kojima. She graduated cum laude with a B.F.A. in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College, receiving the Gold Key for Excellence in 2009. While a student there, she assisted in teaching and demonstrating Graham Technique Master Classes for Miki Orihara and Alessandra Prosperi. She has danced with H.T. Chen and Dancers, Douglas Dunn and Dancers, and played the role of Eliza in The King and I at Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia. She participated in The Taylor School Summer Intensive in 2012 and was asked to join Taylor 2 immediately afterward. Since joining the company, she has also appeared with Paul Taylor Dance Company.
Rulan Tangen‘s work explores movement as an evolving expression rooted in diverse indigenous cosmologies, as functional ritual for transformation and healing, animating decolonizing process, integrating concurrent universes of ancient futurities in the moment of now, expressing energetic connection with all relations – human and beyond. As Founding Artistic Director/Choreographer of DANCING EARTH of mixed heritage, she has passionately cultivated successive generations of Indigenous contemporary performing artists as cultural ambassadors and conduits for social change. She is recipient of 2018 Kennedy Center Citizen Artist award for Service, Justice, Freedom, Courage, and Gratitude – and is grateful for all that roots her, for the dreaming and doing of Dancing Earth : moving, shaking and stomping the world into renewal. www.dancingearth.org
Sara Lawrence-Sucato, Rehearsal Director and Company Dancer, Director of Outreach & Community Engagement, from Columbus, Ohio graduated with honors from Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania with a degree in dance. She is in her fifteenth season as a dancer with The Dancing Wheels Company. Sara has performed works by noted choreographers Marc Brew, Nai Ni Chen, David Dorfman, Christopher Fleming, Catherine Meredith, Stuart Pimsler, David Rousseve, Ginger Thatcher, Michael Uthoff and Robert Wesner as well as by internationally renowned choreographers Donald McKayle and Dianne McIntyre. In her capacity as The Dancing Wheels Company & School’s Director of Outreach & Community Engagement, she teaches integrated dance techniques in residencies, workshops, and masterclasses. Her most recent teaching jobs have included developing and teaching as a Master Teacher for Dancing Wheels Teacher Certification program; Dancing Wheels’ 2020 Adult Summer Dance Intensive and 2019 Youth Arts Camp; masterclasses at VSA Intersections (Atlanta, Georgia, and Columbus, Ohio), “Counter Balance” Inclusive Dance Festival (Chicago, Illinois), and ACT Conference (Columbus, Ohio); workshops at Ohio Dance Festival (Columbus, Ohio), Oglebay Institute (Wheeling, West Virginia), and Mercyhurst University; and residencies for Cleveland and Northeast Ohio-based organizations including the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning, Cleveland Play House, City of Cleveland’s Neighborhood Resource and Recreation Centers (NRRCs), Old Trail School, Laurel School, Clark Elementary, and Julie Billiart School, as well as MOMENTA’s “Chance to Dance” (Columbus, Ohio) and Arts Partnership (Findlay, Ohio). Sara is also a company class instructor and has served as company Tour Manager for thirteen years. She was named as company Rehearsal Director in 2019.
Seyong Kim, Assistant Professor at Western Michigan University, holds an MA in Dance Education from NYU. He is a Certified Movement Analyst, a Registered Somatic Movement Educator, and an ABT® Certified Teacher. He has taught in Rutgers University, Kent State University, Randolph College, Peridance, and Charlottesville Ballet. He has professionally worked with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Albania National Ballet Theatre, Baltimore Ballet, Neglia Ballet, Oakland Ballet, Traverse City Dance Project, TAKE Dance, and Landestheater Coburg Germany.
Xin Ying, choreographer and principal dancer with Martha Graham Dance Company, graduated from Nanjing University of Arts’s choreography major in 2004. Her work received the China Lotus award in 2008. And as a choreographer toured with the Sichuan University of Arts to Hong Kong, Hungry, and Germany, as 3rd section director for National Sports Opening and worked with more than 7000 performers. She joined Martha Graham Dance Company in 2011 to presume her professional dance career and now is a principal dancer and has worked with renowned choreographers all over the world. She made her own version of “Lamentation Variation” into dance film. Her work “巢”(the nest) using google 3D paintbrushes and VR technology was presented by Graham Dance Company at Google. She has collaborated with Kate Spade, Barney NY, Norma Kamali, BlackBerry, Tracy Reese, NYC Dance Project, and the Ballerina Project.
Yuka Notsuka was born in Fukuoka, Japan, is a member of the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company. She began her Ballet training in her hometown at age four. Later she broadened her training to include Jazz and Tap. Later Yuka moved to New York City to further pursue her career as a dancer. In 2015 she entered the Ailey School as a scholarship student. She performed in Ailey Spirit Gala Concert at Lincoln Center choreographed by Tracy Inman (Co-Director, The Ailey School) and Robert Battle (Artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater). Yuka joined the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company in 2017. She also has been in training and served as Teaching Assistant at the Luigi Jazz Dance Center under Francis J. Roach.
Yuki Ishiguro, Japanese native, artistic director of the dance company “Yu.S.Artistry” had diverse training from ballet to Break Dance in Japan. He moved to NY in 2009 to study contemporary dance. Yuki has worked and toured with Roxey Ballet, Catapult Entertainment, Emery LeCrone dance among others. From 2018 Yuki started his own company Yu.S.Artistry fiscally sponsored by New York Live Arts. His work has been presented at Booking dance festival at Jazz at Lincoln Center, DUMBO dance festival, the MAD festival at Nazareth college, Come together dance festival at Suzanne Roberts Theater, International dance festival by Nickerson Rossi dance at performance garage in Philadelphia, and showcased his own evening-length show “Shifting Tides” at Actors Fund Arts Center in 2019.
Zhongmei Li began her dance training at the Beijing Dance Academy, China’s foremost dance institution, and continued in the U. S. winning full scholarships to study at both the Alvin Ailey and Martha Graham schools. She performed on Broadway in the long-running musical “The King and I,” and she earned a master’s degree in fine arts at the Tisch School at New York University. In 1994, she created the Zhongmei Dance Company, with which she performed all over the United States. In addition, she has performed in many other countries, including Singapore, France, Israel, and Brazil. She is a regular guest performer with the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. Zhongmei’s story is available in a non-fiction book, “A Girl Named Faithful Plum,” by Richard Bernstein.