"like endlessly proliferating forces of cosmic energy"
The New York Times
Hudson Riverfront Performing Arts Center
Free concerts Sept 10at
Lincoln Harbor Park on the
Awakening is the final production of the late choreographer Nai-Ni Chen before her untimely passing in December 2021. This expansive production is the artistic embodiment of Nai-Ni Chen’s observation of and reaction to all of the events that happened around her: the division of society, the quest for social equity, the dual beauty and trauma of isolation, and her hope for unity. Nai-Ni Chen’s signature choreographic style crosses many boundaries as she brings unique elements of Chinese culture into the contemporary dance world. The Company is including her seminal work Incense, as a prayer to her spirit and to remember her choreographic grace and power.
Incense (2003) This dance was originally inspired by the sculpture titled Nine Muses by Carlos Dorian installed at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey. The choreographer draws ideas from the offering of incense in the long corridors of an ancient temple in her childhood. The raising white clouds of the incense is said to bring the believer’s prayer from their hearts to god’s ears. The music, by Joan La Barbara, reminds her of the mystical elements of nature and the more abstract, formal elements that gives structure to our faith and thus our lives.
Truthbound (2018) was Nai-Ni Chen’s response to media and Democracy. At this time, everyone is overburdened with news and ideas from every direction, the dance represents Nai-Ni’s reaction to the crisis of faith and trust at this time. Truthbound received critical acclaim in Germany. “In their body and visual language, sensitively creative fantasy, and poetry. Tradition and experiment are combined with dance-like precision and dynamics.” ... writes Volksfreund Critic Eva-Maria Reuther
Shadow force (2020) Created during the pandemic, mostly on zoom with limited rehearsal with dancers in person. The dance is the choreographer’s response to the effect of the isolation, personal struggle, anti-Asian hate, and the social unrest that was happening around her. Despite the darkness, she said that the ending was her vision of hope through struggle, and that hope is something we all share.
Introspection – (2019) Beginning in 2016, Nai-Ni Chen worked with Aljira Contemporary Arts in Newark, NJ on a project where audience would enter the gallery at night with no light on but given a flashlight. Dancers would be doing improvised or choreographed movement in front of the paintings, sculptures or art works. The result of three years of Aljira at Night is Introspection, a work about the many facets of identity, how we view and treat each other, and how we construct our own identity based on other people’s view about us.
Unity (Premiere) – One of the last and final work of Nai-Ni Chen, completed by PeiJu Chien-Pott with commissioned music by Jason Kao Hwang. Unity was inspired by the story that a single stick is easy to break but a bunch is not easily breakable. In this dance, the choreographer integrated numerous elements of Chinese Martial Art into the dance, and all the company dancers received regular training from Martial Arts champion Sifu Yuan Zhang. The story speaks to the power of gathering and Nai-Ni Chen’s hope for community unity during our struggle for equity and anti-hate.
About Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company:
“Chen's phrases, part exoskeletal rigidity, part boneless grace, embodied an epic dignity.” - Village Voice
Choreographer/Dancer, Nai-Ni Chen, was a unique artist whose work crosses many cultural boundaries. Each of her dances reflect her personal vision as an immigrant and an American female artist with deep roots in the Asian culture. From this very personal perspective, she created new works that reflect current issues with global influences. Some of her works were developed in collaboration with renowned artists such as the Ahn Trio, Glen Velez, Joan La Barbara, Jason Kao Hwang, Tao Chen, Tan Dun and the Chinese Music Ensemble of New York.
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 legends that reflect issues of the present time to purely abstract, contemporary dances influenced by a mix of cultures Nai-Ni Chen experienced in New York. An Asian American company that celebrates cross-cultural experience, the Company's productions naturally bring forth issues of identity, authenticity, and equality.
The Company has presented at some of the most prestigious concert halls such as the Joyce Theater, Lincoln Center in New York, and the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center in Florida. The Company appears annually at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Queens College, the College of Staten Island and on Ellis Island. Internationally, the Company has presented at international festivals including Open Look Festival in Russia, the Silesian International Contemporary Dance Festival, the Konfrontations International Festival in Poland, the Chang Mu International Dance Festival in Korea, the Meet in Beijing International Arts Festival in China, and the Tamaulipas International Arts Festival in Mexico.
The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company has received more than 20 awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and numerous Citations of Excellence and grants from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Advancing Dance Education, the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company is currently in residence in New Jersey City University pioneering a program with the University's A Harry Moore Laboratory School teaching dance to urban children with disabilities. For additional Company information, visit their website, www.nainichen.org; write to Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, P.O. Box 1121, Fort Lee, NJ 07024; or call (800) 650- 0246.
Programs of the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company are made possible by the generous support of our Board members, 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 Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF), the New Jersey Cultural Trust, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, The New Jersey Arts and Culture Recovery Fund administered by the Princeton Area Community Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Hyde and Watson Foundation, E.J. Grassman Trust, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, New Music USA, the Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Dance/NYC Dance Advancement Fund, 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 and the Dragon and Phoenix Foundation.
For more info, goto: https://nainichen.org/nextevent
April 3 - Red Firecrackers, the Story of the Chinese New Year at Reader's Digest Theatre, City of New Castle, New York
April 9 - Gibney Studio Theatre, Aid to Ukraine joint concert, NYC
April 10 - 2002 CrossCurrent Asian American Contemporary Dance Festival in Flushing Town Hall, NYC
April 29 - The Ohio Dance Festival in Columbus features Nai-Ni Chen's "Unconquered Warrior" to be performed by commissioning company Dancing Wheels of Cleveland.
May 18 - A Quest for Freedom, a full evening live-music/dance production with the Ahn Trio at the Reston Community Center, Reston, VA.
May 21 - Celebrating the Year of the Tiger with the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company with guest The Ahn Trio at NJPAC, Newark, NJ
July 15 - Song of the Phoenix, Nai-Ni Chen's touring repertory to be performed at SummerStage of Flushing Meadow Park.
What the Audience Said
Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company
Free Master Class
Contemporary Polish Dance for Professional Dancers
with Jacek Luminski
November 8, 2022
Gibney Dance Center
The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company announces a very special event: a free master class in Contemporary Polish Dance for Professional Dancers taught by master dancer/choreographer Jacek Luminski on Tuesday, November 8, 2022, 11am at Gibney Dance Center, Studio 8, 890 Broadway, NYC.
A pioneer in contemporary dance whose work has influenced generations of European choreographers, Dr. Luminski has developed his unique voice from the Silesia region of Poland through his investigation into the roots of Polish and Jewish dance traditions in his native region. This residency is supported by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute in Poland.
Luminski’s training offer is based on exploration of principles and craft of a variety of virtues that make his concept of bodily movement function in a theatrical idiom. In the process of mastering physical movement in direct association with the thinking process. Luminski deploys a set of principles embedded in Peripetea (theatrical concept). Peripetea is a starting point for extensive exploration which connects the students with the virtues of negation, opposition, equivalence, thinking the thought, twin logics, omission, dilation, fragmentation and reconstruction, concatenation and simultaneity.
For Luminski, technique is not limited to bodily movement. It is a concept that reflects the nature of thought; activity of the human brain; it may go into exploration of voice, mentality, and psychological traits. It is very much like acting - both acting and moving are integral parts of technique. The dancers are becoming transmitters of the ideas – it is transparent in their performance. They also transmit “secrets”, which is their personal knowledge, personal experiences, point of views and philosophy. These secrets are like packets of particles or seeds which if well cultivated may flourish; they may become potential nutrients for spiritual lives of a community.
Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company
New Dance Showcase
a Collaboration of PeiJu Chien-Pott and
November 11, 2022 at 4PM
City Center Studio 4
The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company announces a very special event: a free dance showcase of a new collaborative work between Jacek Luminski and PeiJu Chien-Pott on Friday, November 11, 2022, 4pm at City Center Studio 4 and on November 8, 2022 at 11 am at 280 Broadway (Gibney studios) a master class - Contemporary Polish Dance for Professional Dancers taught by master dancer/choreographer Luminski. The two choreographers have been meeting and collaborating online since September. In October, NNCDC Artistic Director Greta Campo and two of the company’s principle dancers were in residence in Katowice University in Poland working with Mr. Luminski and his dancers, paving the way for his NY/NJ 2 week November residency working with Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company’s Director of New and Contemporary Dance, PeiJu Chien-Pott and NNCDC dancers.
The upcoming New Dance showcase will consist of the two companies performing the work-in-progress of the joint collaboration and the restaging of a completed dance choreographed by Jacek Luminski, Ashes of a Dead Frog, created for Nai-Ni Chen in 2007. Audiences will have a chance to meet the artists and view the work-in-progress on November 11th and are encouraged to provide feedback to the cross-continent and cross-cultural collaboration after the showcase.