(FLUSHING, NY) -- Flushing Town Hall will celebrate the vibrant choreography of New York’s diverse, Asian American, contemporary dance community on Friday, June 11 at 7:30 when it presents the 7th season of Nai-Ni Chen’s CrossCurrent Contemporary Dance Festival. The virtual festival is being presented free of charge, but audiences must RSVP to attend online.
The virtual festival brings together some of the best and most creative, contemporary choreographers, showcasing new works by Asian American dance artists, followed by a live conversation led by Nai-Ni Chen.
Hailed as a “spiritual choreographer” by Dance Magazine, Nai-Ni Chen has been the leader of one of the most successful Asian American touring dance companies in the United States for more than 30 years. With her lifelong dedication to dance making, Nai-Ni Chen has built a diverse repertory of over 80 original works for 30 productions and toured major venues throughout the United States, including Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, The Ordway Center in Minnesota, and the Cerritos Center in California. She has been a featured artist in international contemporary dance festivals in 12 countries across Europe, Asia, and the Americas and is the 2020 recipient of the Choreographer’s Fellowship Award from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the Distinguished Teaching Artist Award from the Associating of Teaching Artists and Lincoln Center, and is a two-time recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Choreographer’s Fellowship.
“This year’s CrossCurrent applications were very strong, and we can see many choreographers are adapting their work to the virtual world. The four panelists Miki, Pei-Ju, Maura and I are very encouraged with the growth of a strong, Asian American choreographic voice in the community, and we really appreciate Flushing Town Hall for hosting this festival both virtually and in-person for the past seven years. We are looking forward to share these exciting new works with audience members,” says Nai-Ni Chen.
“Flushing Town Hall is proud to continue amplifying Asian/Asian American voices by providing a platform for emerging choreographers to showcase their works and fostering dialogue about their creative processes,” says Ya Yun Teng, Flushing Town Hall’s Chinese Projects Director. “We have been a strong advocate of arts equity since 1979, supporting local, immigrant, national, and international artists. We develop partnerships and collaborations to bring people together by presenting arts and culture from around the world. Highlighting Asian/Asian American perspectives and talents is an important part of our mission.”
The June 11 event will present the following six works:
LÚTALICA | WANDERER by Peter Cheng - "L Ú T A L I C A is a concept-to-screen dance film that merges gesture, cultural identity, memory, and place. This work was made possible through the Dance Gallery Festival’s Ardsley Residency in partnership with the Catskills Art Society, New York, NY and premiered in Sept 2020. "lútalica" (Serbo-Croatian for ""wanderer"")
“When you were born, they put you in a little box and slapped a label on it. But if we begin to notice these categories no longer fit us, maybe it’ll mean that we’ve finally arrived—just unpacking the boxes, making ourselves at home.” - The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.
Peter Cheng is a Taiwanese-American Director/Choreographer/Dancer who hails from San Francisco, CA. Holding a B.F.A. in Dance from the University of California at Santa Barbara, his early training began under the direction of Christopher Pilafian (Jennifer Muller/The Works), Nancy Colahan (Lar Lubovitch Dance Company), Tonia Shimin (Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble), Valerie Huston, and Christina McCarthy. During his time at UCSB, Cheng was the recipient of the Matthew Alan Plaskett Scholarship, Patricia Sparrow Memorial Fund Scholarship, and Tonia Shimin Award for Excellence and Promise in the field of dance.
Peter continued on to pursue professional training with Alonzo King LINES Ballet, ODC/Dance, SFCD, Post:Ballet, Sidra Bell Dance NY, Visceral Dance Chicago, Springboard Danse Montréal, Yin Yue, NW Dance Project, and had the pleasure of learning works by Robert Dekkers, KT Nelson, Brenda Way, Liss Fain, Sharon Eyal, Stijn Celis, Ihsan Rustem, Patrick Delacroix, Flavien Esmieu (BalletBoyz) and others. He is currently a company dancer with konverjdans and has performed works by Caili Quan (BalletX), Amy Saunder, and Tiffany Mangulabnan.
As the Artistic Director of PETER & CO., Cheng’s work has been presented at The Garage, ODC Theater, Center Stage Theater, CPRNY, 92nd St. Y, Judson Memorial Church, Dixon Place, the Mark O'Donnell Theater, and Arts On Site, among other notable venues.
母老虎 Tigress by Julia Foti - 母老虎 Tigress is about the pressures, the uncertainty, and the beauty found in identifying oneself. In this dance film, color, nature, culture, and art of multiple disciplines intersect to explore a world that is as vast and complex as one's identity. As an adopted Chinese American woman, this work illuminates my own dissonance between what American culture expects of me and how I choose to see myself.
From North Haledon, NJ, Julia Foti is a dance artist who showcases the intricacies of the human condition in her performance and film works. Foti is a 2021 graduate of Rutgers University where she earned a BFA in Dance and B.S. in Psychology. Foti worked with choreographers such as Stephanie Batten Bland, John Evans, John Heginbotham, Randy James, Benny Royce, and Abby Zbikowski. Julia has performed in various productions in NYC as a company member of Muhammad Moves and Artist. Foti is also a certified Vinyassa yoga instructor, dance instructor, and freelance model. When looking towards the future, Foti hopes to pursue a freelance dance career with the intention to create interdisciplinary art that pushes the boundaries of what Asian women are assumed to be.
UNNOTICED by Fiona Tsang - UNNOTICED is a piece about the lack of representation of Asian-Americans in American history, media and conversation. This piece touches upon Vincent Chin’s story and how his horrific tragedy gave name to "Asian-Americans". We, as Asian-Americans, must stand together and speak our truth.
Fiona Tsang is currently an educator, dancer, and choreographer based in New York City. Her stage credits include the honor of dancing with En Garde Arts, Janice Rosario, and Doug Varone, under the direction of Hollis Bartlett. She has also choreographed several traditional Chinese folk dance pieces for the NYPD Asian Heritage Celebration. Her piece, UNNOTICED, has been showcased in the 2019 Dance/NYC Symposium, NYS Dance Education Association, and Hunter Dance Department Concert.
Lost in translation by Chieh Hsiung - In this uncertain timeline, we try to find different ways to build relationships and enjoy our loneliness. Absurd communication is like the tonality of the plot: communication is never justified, and the thoughts in the heart are lost and damaged in the process of translation. In a foreign land, the kind of longing for companionship and longing for dependence is a universal language that really doesn't need translation. We are in this together, we will be alright.
Chieh Hsiung is a Graduate of the National Taiwan University Of Physical Education and Sport with a major in Modern Dance/Choreography and minor in Ballet/Folk Dance/Ballroom Dance/Street Dance. Originally from Taiwan, Chieh moved to New York City 5 years ago. In addition to performing, Chieh has presented her choreography all across Taiwan and NYC. Movement instructor for TV series and Concert in Taiwan 2019-2020. She performed at off Broadway-Women on Fire in 2018. In 2017, Chieh was invited to perform in the 92Y Harkness Dance Center Big Mouth Asian Choreographer Festival. In 2016, she choreographed part of the Fish Lens 2016 World Tour at Lincoln Center. In 2015, she presented work as part of Breaking Glass: The Emerging Female Choreographers Project, which won the audience favorite award.
V/\NISH by Maya Lam - V/\NISH is an interdisciplinary exploration of the relationship between ephemerality and permanence. The world values physical and tangible over experienced and felt. In a world that prefers the lasting, V/\NISH offers the fleeting; giving an instantaneous moment where all that is to be done is to exist and experience.
Maya Lam is a Manhattan-based dancer, choreographer, and interdisciplinary artist. She will graduate from Marymount Manhattan College where she is pursuing a BFA in dance with a concentration in Ballet and a BA in Business with a concentration in Media & Arts Management with a minor in biology. At Marymount, Maya has performed works by Sidra Bell, Jessica Lang, Jenn Freeman, Michael Waldrop, Yin Yue, and Nancy Lushington. Maya has also created and shared works through Marymount's Dancers at Work Performance Series and Marymount's screenPLAY. In addition to her training at Marymount, Maya has attended intensives at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and the Martha Graham School. Maya is interested in investigative processes that challenge societal ideals and power structures and strives to comment on these concepts with a multifaceted approach.
Incomplete Journey by Seyong Kim - Incomplete Journey is a contemporary dance duet. This piece premiered in 2020 and was inspired by the beautiful music Violin Concerto II of Philip Grass. It was presented at the great venues in the world such as the BAM Fisher Theater, Jazz in Lincoln Center, and JueDai Taipei International Dance Festival in Taiwan.
Seyong Kim is originally from Seoul, South Korea and is currently an Assistant Professor of Dance at Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, MI). He holds an MA in Dance Education from New York University and an MA in Dance from Sung-Kyun-Kwan University in South Korea. He is a CMA (Certified Movement Analyst) from Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies, a RSME (Registered Somatic Movement Educator) at ISMETA (International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association), and a PBT (Progressing Ballet Technique) Certified Teacher. Seyong is an ABT® Certified Teacher. Additionally, he earned Diversity and Inclusion Certificate from Cornell University. Seyong has taught for Rutgers University, Kent State University, Randolph College, Peridance, American College Dance Association (ACDA), Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, National High School Dance Festival, Alabama Dance Festival, and Charlottesville Ballet.
As a professional dancer, Seyong has danced with Metropolitan Opera Ballet at Lincoln Center, Albania Opera Ballet Theatre, Staten Island Ballet, Baltimore Ballet, Traverse City Dance Project, Neglia Ballet, TAKE Dance, and Oakland Ballet Company. In addition, his choreographic works have been internationally invited at Landestheater Coburg Germany, Dance in ITALY Festival, Dzul International Dance Festival in Mexico, Taiwan JueDai Taipei International Dance Festival, Seoul International Dance Festival in TANK, Battery Dance Festival, Lindenwood University, Cleveland Dance Festival, Midwest Regional Alternative Dance Festival, Chicago International Dance Forum, Detroit Dance City Festival, Boston Contemporary Dance Festival, KYL/D Inhale on Camera, Jazz in Lincoln Center, and Nimbus OFFLINE+ at the BAM Fisher.
The dance presentations will be followed by a talkback with Nai-Ni Chen and the festival’s panel of distinguished, Asian American dance artists:
Peiju Chien-Pott is one of the most accomplished dancers in the world. She joined the Graham Company in 2011, received the Positano Premia La Danza 2014 award for Best Contemporary Dancer, was named one of the year’s “Best Performers” in 2014 and 2017 by Dance Magazine, Peiju was an honoree of the “Women’s History Month” by Hudson County and received a 2017 Bessie award for Outstanding Performer. Ms. Chien-Pott has created lead roles by many of the world’s most celebrated choreographers including Nacho Duato, Mats Ek, and Andonis Foniadakis. She graduated with a BFA. from Taipei National University of the Arts, and has since been honored with their Outstanding Alumni Award. She recently received an Outstanding Dance Artist Award from the government of Taiwan.
Miki Orihara is known for her Bessie Award-winning career with the Martha Graham Dance Company. She has performed on Broadway, and with Elisa Monte, SITI Company, PierGroupDance, Lotuslotus and in productions by Rioult Dance, Twyla Tharp, Anne Bogart and Robert Wilson. She is a sought after teacher and coach working with the Kirov Ballet, Japan’s New National Theater Ballet School, the Ailey School, New York University, The Hartt School, L’ete de la Danse (Paris) and is Dance Director for Mishmash*Miki Orihara and Martha Graham Dance technique DVD(2018). Orihara is currently the curator /director of NuVu Festival.
Maura Nguyen Donohue is the Director of the MFA in Dance at Hunter College. From 1995-2005 MND/inmixedcompany was commissioned and produced regularly in NYC and toured extensively across North America, Europe and Asia. As artistic advisor for Dance Theater Workshop’s Mekong Project, Donohue curated and facilitated international exchange and residency programs for Asian diaspora artists in the US and Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. She is Writer-in-Residence for Danspace Project’s upcoming PLATFORM ‘21. “Whitelashing: White Fragility in the Ivory Tower” was part of Gibney Dance’s inaugural volume of the journal Imagining. She wrote the Education Track Essay, Exercises in Imagination and served as a Keynote Panelist and Community Facilitator for DanceNYC 2021 Symposium. She is published academically in Contemporary Directions in Asian American Dance and Women and Performance Journal, and has written for Culturebot, American Theater Journal, Dance Magazine, the Dance Insider, MR’s Performance Journal and was guest editor for Critical Correspondence’s “University Project.” She continues to create and perform works in her "Tides Project" series, using reclaimed plastics and oceanic detritus to examine the legacies of bodies ecological and diasporic. She thanks the ancestors and the two incredible offspring for keeping the path clearly lit.
The virtual festival is being presented free of charge, but audiences must RSVP to attend online.
Support for the CrossCurrent program come from The National Endowment for the Arts, the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF) and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and the Board of Directors of the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company.
Flushing Town Hall recently launched its new membership program, Flushing Town Hall’s Circle of Friends, with memberships starting at gifts of $50 or more. With the loss of nearly all earned income, Flushing Town Hall is in dire need of support and is currently raising funds under its Lemon-AID the Arts Campaign. Donations in any amount are appreciated to support the artists and nonprofit cultural organization as they continue to provide programming and entertainment across New York and the world.
Flushing Town Hall’s facilities are temporarily closed to the public in accordance with COVID-19 safety regulations. Current programs are being presented virtually.