Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Asian-American Dance Company Returns to Sweet Briar Sept. 14
Tickets available Sept. 7

At 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 14, Sweet Briar College will welcome the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company to Murchison Lane Auditorium for the first event of the 2009-2010 Babcock Season. Hailed by The Village Voice as "visual poetry," the Asian-American troupe combines modern and traditional Chinese dance in its new show, "Song of the Phoenix."

Named for its Taiwanese founder and art director, Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company last visited Sweet Briar in 2004. Mark Magruder, a dance professor at the College, described that performance as "fantastic" and "visually stunning," but what seems to have stuck with him most were the "water sleeves."

"Nai-Ni did an amazing solo with water sleeves," Magruder said, describing the garment as a tunic with 6- or 8-foot-long sleeves. "It's really cool because you get this gorgeous, flowing effect that with the lighting makes a rippling pattern."

During the upcoming concert, the dance "Passage to Silk River" - an homage to Chen's ancestors - will feature water sleeves.

Other pieces on the program include "Bamboo Prayer," which uses rattan to "symbolize the strength and resilience of women"; "Incense," in which Chen looked to her religious roots for inspiration; "The Way of Five" referring to the five elements; "Raindrops," which draws on the choreographer's childhood memories; "Crosscurrent," a dialogue of passion and strength; and "Mirage," which was "inspired by the unique rhythms and dance movement of the Uyghur people of Xinjiang."

"I think people will be in for a very beautiful visual experience and some very exciting choreography," Magruder said.

Tickets and are $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and free for children younger than 12. For tickets, contact the SBC box office at (434) 381-6120 or boxoffice@sbc.edu , beginning Monday, Sept. 7. Credit card orders can be placed after Sept. 7 via www.lynchburgtickets.com.

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