Song of the Phoenix
Nai-Ni Chen's journey as a first generation Asian American choreographer from Taiwan
The Story of Nian and The Origin Chinese Lunar New Year Customs
A spectacular production of dazzling props, colorful costumes, mesmerizing music, fantastic acrobatics and lively dance by top notch performers telling the story of the origin of the Chinese Lunar New Year. In this legend, a group of villagers, working, dancing and praying together, defeated an a terrifying monster of the ages. A heartwarming story highlights the intrinsic value of coming together, courage, hard-work and ingenuity. It also explains some of the origin of the tradition of the Chinese Lunar New Year when everyone is wearing red, giving red envelopes to children, putting up red decorations, and lighting up all the dark corners the red firecracker to make loud noises.
Learn how you can Celebrate the Chinese New Year !
Every year, Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company brings an amazing production to concert stages around the United States to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Years with thousands of audience members. However, Choreographer/Artistic Director Nai-Ni Chen laments that very few people know how to properly celebrate the Chinese New Year. She decided to tell the story of Nian, the First Chinese New Year in her native language of dance. She also encourage every audience to ask questions, learn how to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year.
In the ancient times, before there was a Chinese New Year Celebration, in a far away village in China, people live joyously together in harmony with nature. But, every 365 days, a monster called Nian comes to terrorize the people. The Villagers trained themselves in martial arts to defend themselves, but even the greatest warrior among them does not seem to be able to defeat the Nian Monster. The villagers, with no where to turn, prayed to the heaven for help.
Finally, the villager’s prayers to the gods are answered, and the ideas from heaven worked to repel the vicious monster that comes every year.
In order for everyone to remember what they needed to do every 365 days, They used name of the Monster, Nian to be the same as the word for “Year”. To celebrate another year absent of the Monster, people say “Guo Nian”, meaning the danger of another Nain visit has passed. On the New Year’s Day, people greet each other saying “Gung Xi, Gung Xi”, as greetings, they wear red color clothing, giving red envelopes to children, covering everything with red color, playing loud firecracker to ward off the Nian.
Song of the Phoenix
“...None of these vignettes ever look traditionally folkloric. There is always something fresh about the way old elements are used to mesh into something new...-
"an impressionistic work drawing on age old Chinese tradition, which originally was commissioned by Lincoln Center Institute, the educational arm of Lincoln Center in New York.”
“The dance unwinds like an ancient Chinese painting on a scroll, one section at a time.” ..
The Star Ledger
“Cross Cultural influences in Nai-Ni Chen’s artistry reveal her great strength lies in breaking away from rigid forms, while she simultaneously maintains essential elements of Chinese classical dance.”
The Northeastern News, Boston, MA
Nai-Ni Chen's choreography, while artfully constructed, is not an abstract experiment in dance architecture; rather, Chen aims to entrance us - and we don't just mean modern dance converts. This is THE dance to which to take your non-dance friends, the one you've been trying to turn on to all the potential power and beauty of dance.
The Dance Insider
Educational workshops and Outreach Activities
A one-hour program full of excitement, energy and enchantment, the Company showcases highlights of Red Firecrackers. It is performed by 7 dancers and the Choreographer/Artistic Director, Nai-Ni Chen, who greets the audience and introduces elements of Chinese Dance and the fantastic props used in each dance. The program is paced wisely with beautiful dancing and demonstration of the authentic training process as well as perfectly timed audience interaction with the narrators. It is exciting, as well as informative. The program is performed to recorded music.
Workshops and Masterclasses are available for pre-professional dance students on college/university campuses, as well as community dance studios. For dancers, Nai-Ni Chen introduces her cross-cultural technique, Kinetic Spiral. Students experience the process of working with props and practice Nai-Ni's signature style and hear music from the program.
Includes: Lecture/Demonstrations, Pre- and Post-Performance Talks, Meet & Greets and Q & A Sessions. These activities give the general audience a chance to meet Nai-Ni Chen, the dancers and/or the Ahn Trio, as they discuss the many aspects of this collaboration and the creative process. The discussion can take on a broad range of topics, from cross-genre collaboration to Asian Culture in America, and can take place in a wide array of venues and spaces. Engaging the local communities prior to the performance encourages new audiences to come see the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, and hopefully involving other artists in the community.