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New Collaboration of Nai-Ni Chen and the Ahn Trio


Nai-Ni Chen to Premiere A Quest for Freedom at NJPAC on Saturday March 24, 2018 at 7:30PM

We are also performing at  NextDance Festival in Philadelphia’s Prince Theatre on the  4/19, 4/20, and 4/21.

A Collaboration of Nai-Ni Chen and the Ahn Trio with

Lighting Designer Yi-Chung Chen
Visual Designer Jayanthi Moorthy
Costume Designer Anna-Alisa Belous

Piano: Lucia Ahn

Cello: Maria Ahn

Violin: Angella Ahn

Dancers: Greta Campo, Antonio Cangiano, Candace Jarvis, Hannah Jew, Yuka Notsuka,  Jerard Palazo, Patrick Piras

Link to NJPAC Ticket & Info

Link To NextMove Dance Ticket & Info

In this 2018 Women’s History Month of March, NJPAC will premiere Nai-Ni Chen’s latest collaboration with the world renowned Ahn Trio in a new, groundbreaking dance production, A Quest for Freedom. A program that highlights the hope and quest for freedom in every aspects of the artist’s life and only highlighted by the current societal, national, international and historical debate around immigration. Following the NJPAC premiere, the new work will premiere at Philadelphia’s NextMove Dance Festival Fri-Sun, April 20, 21, 22 at the Prince Theatre. Originally inspired by Ahn Trio’s adaptation of David Bowie’s Space Oddity and the their performance of the Trio’s version of Purple Rain by Prince on Ellis Island’s Great Hall of Immigration, Nai-Ni Chen continued to work with the Trio throughout 2017 to find their common vision, exploring their common roots as Asian American immigrants, and as women artists developing innovative work in America. Their collaboration is enhanced by the work of visual artist Jayathi Moorthy, who brings a contemporary, visual artist perspective to the project.The new production will feature new music created especially for Nai-Ni Chen, Concrete Stream as well as Night Flight by Kenji Bunch, Insensatez by Astor Piazzola and popular music adaptations for classical instruments by David Bowie and Prince. For each of these music, Nai-Ni Chen created new dances titled: I want to Fly, Liberation, Lonely Man, A Forgotten Past, and My Flower Garden, each dance explores part of her journey as an immigrant woman artist who view freedom from different lances here in America. Lighting Designer Yi-Chung Chen, Visual Designer Jayanthi Moorthy and Costume Designer Ann-Alisa Belous are all deeply involved in the making of the production.

Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company with The Ahn Trio

About A Quest for Freedom
An empowering evening of music and dance, A Quest for Freedom is a music and dance collaboration between the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company and the world renowned Ahn Trio. The athletic physicality of 7 exquisite dancers, mesmerizing choreography of Nai-Ni Chen combined with the virtuosity of the Ahn Trio are integrated seamlessly throughout the program.In this production, the Ahn Trio performs their most popular and engaging music, including their sassy, classical version of Purple Rain by the Prince, Space Oddity by David Bowie, Night Flight by Kenji Bunch, among others. The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company also commissioned new music from composer Kenji Bunch. Concrete Stream with passages that allow dancers to interact with musicians.

About Concrete Stream

Composer’s notes “Concrete Stream” usually refers to an artificial trickle of water in a backyard garden- essentially an elaborate home improvement project. Perhaps a more poetic interpretation of the term could suggest the paradox between the organic and man-made; the struggle for the existence of fluidity and natural beauty in an urban, industrial context. This work explores these two conflicting concepts, by incorporating elements of “floating” melody, free from traditionally notated rhythms, juxtaposed with the insistent inflexibility of repetitive motives. -Kenji Bunch

The Ahn Trio
Hailed as “exciting musicians” with virtuosity and flair, the three sisters of the Ahn Trio (Lucia on the piano, Angella on the violin and Maria on the cello) have embraced 21st century classical music while redefining the art of chamber music. Born in Seoul, Korea and educated at the Julliard School in New York City, the Ahn Trio brings a new energy and an ever evolving vision of music to the performance stage, whether it be Vienna’s Musikverein, New York’s Lincoln Center, Beijing’s Concert Hall or The White House. In this innovative collaboration with Asian-American choreographer, Nai Ni Chen, the world-class dance company and trio are immersed in the visual element of the pieces, creating a mesmerizing blend of music and dance of sheer aural and visual beauty.

A Word for Freedom
By Latif Nazemi
Translated from the Persian/Dari by Bashir Sakhawarz
Let’s kiss water

The root of civilization
a word for freedom
I’m in love with water
with roaring and restless rivers
that are not seduced by trees
nor captured by jungles
They flow day and night
carry on forever.
Let’s praise rivers that lust for flowing
for searching for a heart of temptation
that know what message water delivers to stone,
the questions water asks from quiet coasts.
Passerby, for a long time
the river has been constrained in an old robe
on our street and thrown into a well
Water wars with the well
water in the mind of a tree
water in the solitude of a cup,
water in the memory of flowerpot,
I had a wonderful dream on Friday night.
I dreamed the river ran free
that on its roaring horse
it rode over stones,
past the border of farms.