(FORT LEE, NJ) -- After going virtual since March 2021 and creating several productions online, the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company has announced its return to performing for live audiences in June 2021 in both indoor and outdoor presentations. The Company’s first live audience-facing performance will be presented by the Jamaica Dance Festival outdoors at Rufus King Park. 150-29 Jamaica Avenue, Jamaica, New York on Saturday, June 12 at 7:30pm. The Jamaica Dance Festival is a program of A Better Jamaica, an advocacy organization for the community.
Then on June 19th at 8:00pm, the Company will be performing for a live audience of less than 750 presented by the 2021 Summer Heat Festival held annually by Choregus Productions at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center’s Chapman Music Hall which has a 2000 seat capacity.
During the pandemic, the Company held rehearsals online where each dancer worked with Nai-Ni Chen through the internet. As the rehearsal spaces and studios began to open, the Company returned to restricted in-person rehearsals. Today, all the Company members have been vaccinated and are now able to work together in-person as a company. The company is thankful for the support of the relief funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF), New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Dance/NYC and the NJ Cultural Relief Fund administered by the Princeton Area Community Foundation.
With this support, Nai-Ni Chen and her dancers were able to create several new dances during the last 16 months, and these dances form the core of the productions to be shown in these festivals. With these new works and some of the most beloved work of the Company, Nai-Ni Chen hopes to highlight the role of the arts in the recovery process, not only as an artist, but also as a member of the Asian American artistic community.
Highlights of the Program to be presented will include new works: Luminescence, a dance highlighting the importance of nature and conservation. Shadow Force, a new work on the importance of being connected and working together for equity and justice. Emissary of Light, a Asian movement centered solo that celebrates the healing power of nature. In addition, Nai-Ni Chen will present her powerful martial-arts infused The Way of Five - Fire, showing the spirit of the warrior. She is also bringing one of her signature dances, Whirlwind, a powerful eight dancers work inspired by her observation of a natural phenomenon on the Silk Road.
Hailed as a Spiritual Choreographer by Dance Magazine and recipient of multiple choreographic fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Nai-Ni Chen has been creating dances professionally for over thirty years in the United States. She has built a diverse repertory of over 80 original works, set works on major ballet, contemporary companies as well as universities, and toured to major venues in the US and international contemporary dance festivals in 12 countries.
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, discipline and freedom, and form and spirit.
Since its inception in 1988, the company has earned a broad base of public support and has toured extensively to major performing arts centers throughout more than thirty states. Presented by some of the most prestigious concert halls in the United States, from the Joyce Theater in New York to the Ordway Center in Minnesota and the Cerritos Center in California, the Company has mounted more than twenty national tours and nine tours abroad. Ms. Chen’s work has been presented by such acclaimed international festivals as the Silesian International Contemporary Dance Festival and the Konfrontations International Dance Festival, both in Poland, the Chang Mu International Arts Festival in Korea and the Meet in Beijing International Arts Festival. The Company was also honored by a distinctive grant award from both the President's Committee on Arts and Humanities and the Department of State to represent the United States in a seven-city tour arranged by the Tamaulipas International Arts Festival in Mexico. Also, the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company has the unique 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.
In addition to its extensive season of touring and performing, the company has developed Arts in Education residency programs in school districts to bring culture and arts into educational settings. It’s colorful and engaging in-school assembly program “The Art of Chinese Dance” has been presented in hundreds of schools in NJ, NY, CT and PA, reaching hundreds of thousands of youth. The Company is currently in-residence at New Jersey City University working with NJCU on the development of a new BFA in Dance.
PHOTOS: (TOP) by Anthony Alverez (MIDDLE) by Sylvia Chiang (BOTTOM) by Jaqi Medlock