(NEWARK, NJ) -- For the 21st year, Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company will present a colorful and vibrant special Chinese New Year Celebration at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) on Saturday and Sunday, February 2 and 3, 2019 at 2:00pm. Tickets are $25-45 and are available online or by phone at (888) GO-NJPAC.
2019 is the Year of the Pig, which is the end of a cycle of Zodiac animals. The Year of the Pig is expected to be a festival year of great abundance and prosperity. To celebrate the Year of the Pig, the Company has developed a rich and fantastic program that incorporates many positive aspects of Chinese and Chinese American immigrant culture in the program.
The choreographer and the Company feels that in today's environment, the work of immigrant artist Nai-Ni Chen is especially important as she has been developing works that advocate for the culture of the community, fighting stereotype and prejudice as an Asian woman artist who is leading a professional dance troupe in America.
This year, Nai-Ni Chen bring a new Bamboo themed production aimed to take audiences beyond cultural boundaries, to a place where tradition meets innovation and freedom arises from discipline. The company has received more than 15 awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, and numerous awards from New Jersey and New York State.
Chen and company specialize in "a remarkably smooth blend of the new and the old, as well as a confident, intensely personal approach to nature," says The New York Times, which has described Chen's dancers as "endlessly proliferating forces of cosmic energy."
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Metropolitan area audiences have made this event an annual tradition. For this celebration, Nai-Ni Chen produced a program that introduces the beauty, creativity and diversity of Chinese and Chinese-American arts in New York and New Jersey through high-quality performance and activities. As a tradition, the Company will begin the celebration with a new and fantastic Double Lion Dance, in which a dancer, dressed as a child, plays with two golden lions in stylized, coordinated acrobatic maneuvers. The dance symbolizes the coming of spring and a prayer for peace as a small child appears in harmony with the ferocious lions.
To celebrate diverse Chinese folk cultures, the Company will offer the beautiful Peacock Trio to the authentic music of Hulusi, a bamboo instrument from Yunan Province of China. The Company will be joined by world renowned Chinese fluist Tao Chen following the Peacock Trio.
For this year, Nai-Ni Chen chose the theme of Bamboo to express her vision and what she feels that dance can bring to the world. The most revered plant in Chinese art, the Bamboo is a symbol of uprightness and tenacious endurance. The Bamboo is full of spirit resonance as it keeps its leaves green through winter. It's hollow inside, symbolizing humility, and the solid nodes symbolize honesty and strength. The new dance, Bamboo Collection, is her way to showcase the strength and vitality of her artistry and expresses her advocacy as an immigrant, Asian American artist bringing the highest form of artistic expression to America.
Following the Intermission, the audience will be treated with another level of color and abundance. The Company has invited renowned Kunqu artist Jenny Jia to perfom a Chinese Opera excerpt to showcase the fantastic, extravagant beauty of this ancient art form. Ms. Jia was invited to America by Lincoln Center to take part as a principal actress in their presentation of The Peony Pavilion.
According to the Chinese calendar, family and friends should expect 12 months of joyful abundance in the Year of the Pig. This lively performance to mark the beginning of the year will warm the hearts and delight the senses of audiences of all ages. Dancers with colorful, elaborate costumes, musicians playing ancient melodies and dazzling acrobats fill the stage. The playful Lions bring joy and good fortune. The majestic dragons fly out of the ocean and charm the Earth with a spell of peace and wealth. Exotic music and dance from various parts of China come together in a show of beauty and excitement. The festivities extend into the lobby, where an arts and crafts display showcases more of the culture and creativity of the Chinese-American community.
A Chinese New Year Celebration would not be complete without a visit by the auspicious Dragon. The Company will be performing the Dragon Dance as a conclusion to this fantastic celebration.
New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) is located at 1 Center Street in Newark, New Jersey.About the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company
Bringing the dynamic freedom of American modern dance together with the elegant splendor of Asian art, the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company is one of the most visible Asian American dance companies in America. Ms. Chen's unique choreography transports audiences beyond cultural boundaries to the common ground between tradition and innovation, rising beyond form into the spirit.
One of the few Asian American professional dance companies with an extensive season of touring and performing around the world, Nai-Ni Chen has also developed Arts in Education residency programs in school districts to bring culture and arts into educational settings. Its colorful and engaging programs and workshops have reached over one million young audience members in the NY/NJ area. The Company is currently in residence at New Jersey City University and has been a Principal Affiliate of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center since its inception.
The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company has the honor of having received more than fifteen awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and numerous Citations of Excellence and grants from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Other funders include the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation; the Hyde and Watson Foundation; Horizon Foundation, The Irving and Laurie Blanchard Foundation; the E.J. Grassman Trust; PSE&G; the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council; Verizon; Sony; New Music/USA; Chase Manhattan Bank; the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation and others.