Sunday, July 02, 2006

Representing America in Poland

Fort Lee, NJ - After the recent completion and triumphant premiere of its new work American Landscape at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company will perform its European Union premiere of the work in Chelm, Poland, on July 2, 2006, at the U.S. Embassy–sponsored American Days. There, the dancers will appear alongside such American greats as country singers Doug Adkins and Patricia Vonne and jazz artist Miles Griffith. The Company’s next stop is Poland’s medieval cultural capital, Krakow, where it will join other American companies participating in the Silesian Dance Theatre’s XIII Annual International Contemporary Dance Conference and Performance Festival American Platform. In addition to performing, Nai-Ni Chen and the Company members will lead master classes in contemporary dance for European participants in the festival. Ms. Chen, a master teacher of American and classical Chinese dance forms, will also teach movement and choreography related to the Chinese tradition. The Company will return home on July 16.

The Company’s members represent the diversity of cultures in the United States. Common to all of them, however, are their commitment to Nai-Ni Chen’s technical and creative style, her artistry, and her open vision that brings freedom to the performers and their audience. The Company’s diverse makeup, and Ms. Chen’s cross-cultural influences, make it an important representative of the United States of America and of today’s contemporary dance movement.

Trained in classical Chinese dance and the Peking Opera style since childhood, Ms. Chen joined the world-renowned Cloud Gate Dance Theatre at the age of 16, initiating her path toward contemporary dance. After coming to America in 1982, she graduated from New York University with an M.A. in dance. To further her professional vision and her need to break from tradition, she began to integrate the strict, focused rules of her early training with the freedom she found in American modern dance, creating movement vocabularies that allowed her to begin a career as a choreographer. In 1989, she established the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company to pursue her vision that integrating and coordinating the elements of a production, from the dancers’ breathing to multimedia stage design, can create for its audience a complete poetic, theatrical experience.

Who: Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company
What: International Touring and Residency – U.S. Embassy – American Days
Silesian Dance Theatre’s American Platform
Where: Poland: Performances: Chelm, Krakow; Workshops: Bobrek, Bytom
When: June 29 – July 16, 2006
Sponsors: The Silesian Dance Theatre; U.S. Embassy
Support: Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, Trust for Mutual Understanding, NCK – Poland
Contact: Andrew Chiang (800) 650-0246

Next Step: Future projects and tours during the 2006-07 season in other EU venues and Mexico.

American Landscape was commissioned by the Alternate Route Series of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, curated by Baraka Sele. Additional commission funding also came from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, the JP Morgan Chase Foundation, and American Music Center’s Live Music for Dance program.

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