Fort Lee, NJ - The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, one of America’s premiere Asian American dance groups, has returned from its groundbreaking international tour where the Company represented the United States of America. Echoing past international tours, Nai-Ni Chen and the Company members performed, taught and organized outreach programs that shared the innovations and traditions representative of the Asian American immigrants in the U.S and highlighted the diversity and inclusion of contemporry American culture.
Tamaulipas, Mexico – (October 12–24, 2006) The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company has returned from its two-week, seven-city engagement in Mexico’s “VIII Festival International Tamaulipas” that was supported by the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. The tour of Mexico highlighted one of Ms. Chen’s most ambitious works in recent years: Unbroken Thread, with music by Jason Kao Hwang of Jersey City, New Jersey and set designed by Myung Hee Cho of California. For the audiences of all ages, which included festival presenters, the presentation of a modern dance company was rare; even rarer was the presentation of an American modern dance company whose works are infused with Chinese influences formulated from the centuries-old traditions of the Peking Opera and China’s then budding contemporary dance movement. Nai-Ni Chen, a Chinese immigrant in the United States, and her Company were greatly appreciated by the Mexican community, representing that community’s hope and possibilities for a brighter future of what they know is a truly global community. Mexican journalist Cipatli Anaya Campos, traveling with the Company, relayed his experience with Ms. Chen’s art and the Company’s audiences: “I see incredible dedication, passion, and professionalism in each movement of each member. I see magic in the way their bodies create a complete, beautiful landscape; I see each corporeal expression united one with the other to form an exceptional presentation. … What I see is one complete harmony between music and dance, like nothing existed around the Company, only the sound, and it looks like the whole world stopped to see them.” In truth, the world did stop: children and adults alike were held captive once the curtains opened and the dancers began to perform onstage. After the performance, the Company was greeted warmly and thanked by an excited public that included television and other media. The Company could not have been more pleased with the community response.
Lublin, Poland – (October 2–7, 2006) Nai-Ni Chen is well known in Poland for her graceful, complex and multilayered contemporary dance movement and for her strength in staging works—a talent held dear by the Poles, who are known for drama and movement. During this third year that the Company has traveled, performed, and taught in Poland, Nai-Ni Chen brought her dramatic multimedia work Dragons on the Wall to the “XI International ‘Confrontations Theatre’ Festival 2006”—Poland’s famed and well-respected international drama festival. Supported by funds from the Trust for Mutual Understanding, Dragons on the Wall represents an amalgam of Ms. Chen’s drama and movement training in the Peking Opera technique and her contemporary movement work in the United States. The Company performed to international audiences, famed theatre directors, and actors and was hailed for Ms. Chen’s dramatic interpretation of Nobel Prize–winner Bei Dao’s politically motivated poetry through her specific movement style inspired by the energetic flow she finds in traditional Chinese calligraphy, Tai-Chi, and American modern dance. As a part of the Poland program, Ms. Chen taught workshops on Peking Opera technique alongside three master artists of the Kunqu Opera, the ancient style of Chinese Opera that inspired the birth of Peking Opera. The Kunqu Opera masters extended the tour by continuing from Lublin onto Bytom and Krakow to teach and work with Poland’s emerging and established professionals in the fields of dance, direction, and acting.
Next Appearance - Turandot in Trenton, New Jersey Celebrating the opera’s 80th anniversary, the Boheme Opera will present Nai-Ni Chen’s choreography in a premiere production of Turandot, one of the most beloved operas by one of the opera world’s most treasured composers, Puccini. Turandot will be presented in the Patriot Theatre of the War Memorial in Trenton on November 3 at 8pm and November 5 at 3pm. Ms. Chen began to choreograph Turandot before her recent international tour and has returned to continue that work with Boheme Opera’s Artistic Director and Turandot’s conductor, Joseph Pucciati, and Director Ben Spierman. Choreography for Turandot was initially developed during the Westfield Symphony’s concert presentation of the opera at the PNC Arts Center in New Jersey, which received standing ovations and cheers from the thousands attending. In expanding that work for Boheme Opera’s full production, Ms. Chen is revisiting a style of staging and choreography that she mastered in China through her training and touring in large-scale theatrical productions.
For details regarding Turandot, please call the Boheme Opera box office at 609-581-7200, 9am–3pm weekdays, or visit www.bohemeopera.com and the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company website at www.nainichen.org.
Announcing Upcoming Commission Project Jacek Luminski, choreographer of Poland’s Silesian Dance Theatre The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company has commissioned Jacek Luminski, founder/choreographer of Poland’s renowned Silesian Dance Theatre, to create a new work for the Company. The multiphase project, made possible through generous support from CECArtslink, is starting in November 2006 with showings of the process, and the premiere of the work during winter-season events, date to-be-announced.
Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company Support Year-round: The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company’s year-round and special programming are made possible by the generosity of numerous national and local foundations, corporations, individuals, and creative partners and federal, state, and local government entities, including, among others, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, the Turrell Foundation, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Sony, the Connelly Foundation, and the Harlem School of the Arts. Mexico: The Company is grateful to the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities for honoring the Company with support for its Mexican tour with assistance from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. As well, we would like to thank the Live Music for Dance Program at the American Music Center for its support in commissioning the music for Unbroken Thread, and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation for funding Nai-Ni Chen’s new works. Poland: The cultural exchange project of presentation and exchange of Kunqu Opera and Peking Opera work was made possible by support from the Trust for Mutual Understanding, with participation of Poland’s Theatre Provisorium and the XI Konfrontations Theatre Festival, the Silesian Dance Theatre (SDT) in Bytom, and SDT partner the Actors Academy in Krakow.
For additional information regarding the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company Contact: Catherine A. Peila (201) 947-8403