Nai-Ni Chen Dance 30th Anniversary at New York Live Arts
Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company
Thu-Sat Dec 5-7, 2019 at 7:30PM
Sun Dec 8, 2019 at 2:00PM
at New York Live Arts
219 West 19th Street NYC Ticket: 30/$15
The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, an innovative international touring dance company that has been a leading force Asian American dance experience, will launch its 30th anniversary season at New York Live Arts with CrossCurrent, which highlights Nai-Ni Chen’s distinctive experience as a female Asian American Immigrant choreographer creating new works as her journey carries her from a world-touring dancer trained in traditional Chinese culture and aesthetics to an American choreographer making socially relevant work that can resonate with the issues of today. Highlights include Chen’s Callligraphy II, Whirlwind, and recent works Breaking News! (renamed from Truthbound), Positioning and Bamboo Rap. Performances run December 5-7 at 7:30pm and December 8 at 2pm. Tickets are $30 / $15 for students and seniors and can be purchased at https://newyorklivearts.org/event/crosscurrent/.
CrossCurrent will include some of Nai-Ni Chen’s most recent works: Breaking News! developed during a residency in Trier, Germany in reaction to the crisis of faith and trust today utilizes newspapers as costume and Chen herself as the seeker for truth. She created movements with dancers using improvisation of carefully balanced traditional and contemporary imagery and energy. The concert will also include a recent signature work that has been received with enthusiastic audience support:y Bamboo Rap, an experimental piece created in collaboration with hip-hop artists and DJs exploring the sound of Chinese language with contemporary urban dance vocabulary, both rooted in storytelling and the desire for equality and justice. Duet Positioning is a new work developed with the world renowned Ahn Trio, Korean American sisters who shares the Asian American journey with Nai-Ni in their joint program A Quest for Freedom, which speaks to their common experience as successful artists working towards justice and equity and sharing their vision through their artistry. Bamboo Rap was originated from a collaboration with Beijing based Kuaiban artist XingYe Ma and then with Taiwan based Hakka Kuaiban artist CHung-Chun Chang. This new work is being further developed into a full-evening program titled Warrior Spirit inspired by the spirit of the music, literature and dance that inspired these cross-cultural phenomenon.
The concert will open with one of Chen’s earliest signature works, Calligraphy II, which explores the spirituality, the flow of energy and the dynamics of the brush strokes in the art of Chinese writing inspired by Tang Dynasty Mon Huai Su, with an original music score by Joan La Barbra and set designed by Myunghee Cho. The dance explores the boundary of the compositional styles of Calligraphic art form and styles of dance composition. It was also inspired by conversations between Nai-Ni Chen and Chinese Calligrapher FangYu Wang who proposed that the aim of the Chinese calligraphic art is to “resonate with the miracle of nature”; Huai Su has proposed that his inspiration comes from the summer clouds, the cracks on the wall, and the water stains from a leaky house. With these inspirations, Nai-Ni Chen created Calligraphy II, using movements and dance composition to bring forth the abstract beauty in which the stage became her scroll, and the passage of time unfolds the energy and meaning of the art written on the set designed by Myung Hee Cho using “The Autobiography of Huai Su”, an ancient scroll from the National Palace Museum in Taipei..
Crosscurrent will conclude with Whirlwind, a dance inspired by Chen’s journey to the Silk Road into the heartland of the Uyghurs with music by Glen Velez. The dance explores trance, rhythmic breathing, sound and spiral motion that lies at the root of the motion of the dance culture in
“When all seven performers swirl through individual patterns simultaneously, you imagine a scroll dancing.” Deborah Jowitt, The Village Voice
“In their body and visual language sensitively created fantasy and poetry. Tradition and experiment are combined with dance-like precision and dynamics.” Eva-Maria Reuther, Volksfreund.
Also Upcoming in the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company 2019-20 Season:
In January and February 2020, to chase away the winter blues, the Company will celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Rat and the first year of the cycle of metal with a vibrant, colorful extravaganza of the Company’s Lunar New Year Festival at Staten Island College, Queens College, The Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center on Long Island, The New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and Ocean County College in New Jersey. This New Year’s program highlights will include a diverse line up of top-tier Chinese artists as well as new dances by Nai-Ni Chen.
The season will continue in March with appearances by up-and-coming Asian American artists at the Company’s resident work at Flushing Town Hall. In its 6th year, the Company has been presenting new music and dance talents in the community.
The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company will be on Ellis Island in the Great Hall of Immigrant for the Asian American Heritage Month in May. The Company will be presenting the 6th Imagine Ellis Island Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Festival which will bring together a diverse array of artists focused on preserving and creating culturally specific work.
Followers and audience can gain an early glimpse of the Company’s new works during our open rehearsal sessions at Flushing Town Hall in New York, at NJPAC in Newark, as well as at pop-up locations around the NY/NJ area to be announced on our e-newsletter.
In addition to developing new dances, Nai-Ni Chen is equally committed to introduce the Chinese American heritage to children and family in diverse communities. Her K-12 assembly program, The Art of Chinese Dance, is performed throughout the year in schools and community centers in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Continuing its commitment to preserve and advance dance in the Chinese American community in New Jersey, the Company offers regularly scheduled community workshops at the Metuchen Dance Centre every Saturday with award-winning instructors from China, Taiwan, and the U.S.