(FORT LEE, NJ) -- In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company has established a new dance institute through Zoom, The Bridge. The Institute’s aim is to bring together dancers, choreographers and directors around the world to experience the master teachers of color whose practices are embedded in the community and are focused on advancing the art of dance that transform the personal, environmental and metaphysical spaces.
Interested dancers can join the class by registering on Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company’s website.
As a virtual dance institute, The Bridge will invite world renowned as well as up and coming dancers and choreographer to come to guest teach the class. Advanced/Intermediate level professional or pre-professional dancers who are looking to explore beyond their own boundaries and looking for new dance experiences are encouraged to participate.
The core program is based on Nai-Ni Chen’s Kinetic Spiral, which is a cross-cultural dance vocabulary that integrates the Chinese martial arts philosophy in TaiChi with contemporary dance practices she studied in America. Guest artists will cover a wide range of folk and classical dance styles.
The Bridge will hold classes Monday-Thursday for the remainder of the summer due to the schedules of teachers and participants.
The Bridge Class schedule for the week of 7/26/21 is as follows:
Monday - Yuka Notsuka (Kinetic Spiral) at 11:00am
Tuesday - Rio Kikuchi (GyroKinesis) at 11:00am
Wednesday - Nai-Ni Chen (Kinetic Spiral) at 11:00am
Thursday - Layla Ogasawara (Belly Dance) at 11:00am
About Nai-Ni Chen's Kinetic Spiral: Tap into the creative energy of the universe through Kinetic Spiral. Nai-Ni Chen’s signature technique is based on the principle of ever-changing universal forces of Yin and Yang. Dance phrases from Nai-Ni Chen’s repertory will be taught.
About Rio Kikuchi’s GyroKinesis: Gyrokinesis is slow, fluid, exercise practice based on the natural elements of spinal movement. By gently working the joints and muscles through rhythmic and undulating movements coupled with calming breathing patterns, the exercises stimulates the body's internal organs while corresponding breathing patterns stimulate the nervous system, open up energy pathways, and oxygenate the blood.
About Layla Ogasawara’s Belly Dance: This class will combine yoga and strengthening exercises. Followed by isolation and belly dance combinations.
In this trying time of change and uncertainty, the arts is a source of healing and unity, we would like to encourage everyone to support dance as dance is an essential medicine for the society to recover from the pandemic that has caused injury to our bodies and our hearts. Support for The Bridge can be made online.
About the Artists
Born in Tokyo, Japan. At age of 3, Rio Kikuchi began ballet training at Studio Benus in Japan and later she was introduced to Tap and Jazz. She took Summer Intensive at Kirov Academy of Ballet of Washington DC in 2015. She also studied Ballet technic and Point work privately with Luis Villanueva. In 2017, Rio moved to New York and was offered Scholarship to study at The School of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. In addition, she received Scholarship at Alonzo King Lines Ballet Summer Program in 2019. She has performed with Alvin Ailey Dance Theater at New York City Center in 2018. A member of the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, Rio is also a certified Gyrokinesis instructor.
Yuka Notsuka was born in Fukuoka, Japan, is a member of the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company. She began her Ballet training in her hometown at age four. Later she broadened her training to include Jazz and Tap. Later Yuka moved to New York City to further pursue her career as a dancer. In 2015 she entered the Ailey School as a scholarship student. She performed in Ailey Spirit Gala Concert at Lincoln Center choreographed by Tracy Inman (Co-Director, The Ailey School) and Robert Battle (Artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater). Yuka joined the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company in 2017. She also has been in training and served as Teaching Assistant at the Luigi Jazz Dance Center under Francis J. Roach.
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 and toured to major venues in the US and international contemporary dance festivals in 12 countries. She will be teaching her signature technique KINETIC SPIRAL which is a blend of the dynamic, ever-evolving spirit of contemporary dance and the grace and splendor of the Asian artistic traditions.
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 the United States. 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 and assisting NJCU in the development of a new BFA in Dance.