Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A Word From Nai-Ni Chen...

During the last three summers, I have taken the Company to international dance and theater festivals and toured to overseas venues as far afield as Poland, Lithuania, Russia, Germany, and Mexico. Through our dances, we made many new friends and touched many hearts. After a busy and highly successful 2007 season, we felt it was important to spend this summer differently. We decided to take a break from performing in order for the dancers and me to have a chance to recuperate, and for our administrative staff to focus on preparing and planning for the next season. This uninterrupted thinking time was especially important for me because I rarely have time to look back and reflect upon our past achievements because of the amount of planning that is necessary for developing, coordinating, and implementing all the details and aspects of our various programs. But, every time I look through our calendar at the past year, I am amazed at how much the Company has achieved. We were busy for more than 42 weeks, performing and leading educational and outreach programs, and I am proud of our accomplishments.

Last year, we performed at the Konfrontations Theatre Festival in Lublin, Poland, and undertook a three-week, seven-city tour to the Tamaulipas Festival in Mexico. The Company toured to eight different states across the U.S., including performances in Arizona, California, and Missouri, as well as at home at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

Continuing the Company's tradition of excellence in the area of dance education, we created an innovative after-school program at the Shuang Wen School in Lower Manhattan that focused on traditional Chinese dance, martial arts, and music, teaching more than 300 students over eight months, culminating in an end-of-year performance involving both the students and the Company dancers. We also choreographed and collaborated with jazz composer Don Braden in the Litchfield Poetry Live! project in Connecticut, and the Company has been invited to return there again in 2008. We also staged more than two hundred performances of "The Art of Chinese Dance" in public schools in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania, giving schoolchildren their first taste of traditional Chinese art forms.

As we are now entering the Company's nineteenth year, I thank my entire team of dancers and administrative staff for their endless and invaluable support. We are getting ready for more exciting performances to come, more new dances to be created, and many more projects for children and communities in the tri-state area.

Nai-Ni Chen

Artistic Director

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