Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company: Rehearsal
Tuesday November 23, 2010 - I went down to Harlem today to watch part of a rehearsal of the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company in preparation for their upcoming performances. The Company will perform at the Harlem School of the Arts from December 2nd thru 5th. Details here. The performances are a collaboration with the Ahn Trio and composer Kenji Bunch. In addition, dances set to works by Pat Metheny and Ronn Yedidia will be premiered.
We discovered Nai-Ni Chen earlier this year when a dancer we'd met, Jamison Goodnight, joined Nai-Ni's company. Both Kokyat and I so thoroughly enjoyed the programme we saw and have been looking forward to seeing the group again. Kokyat's photo of Jamison, above.
At today's rehearsal I watched a preview of the works to be shown at the upcoming performances. Each piece is like a visual poem; certain stylistic elements run like silken threads thry the tapestries of dance but each work is also a unique response to the respective musical composition. Above: dancers Riyo Mito and Justin Lynch.
Central to the Chen/Ahn/Bunch collaboration will be a piece entitled CONCRETE STREAM. The work - which begins with a finely-wrought solo for Jamison Goodnight - will feature the musicians' participation onstage. For another Kenji Bunch composition, GROOVEBOXES, the choreographer departs from her signature style of spacious, lyrical movement and has the dancers sailing thru fast-paced, energized combinations with perfect grace.
I am not sure who has the finer fortune here: the dancers who have Nai-Ni's entrancing choreography in which they can give wing to their expressive artistry, or Nai-Ni Chen herself in having such an appealing and polished roster of dancers to turn her visions into danced reality. It's an ideal situation for all concerned.
The dancers were kind enough - at the end of a long day in the studio - to pose for some photos which of course made me wish that Kokyat had been there. It does seem that he will be photographing one of the performances next week so then I should really have some exciting images of this radiant Company to share. Above: Riyo Mito and Justin Lynch.
Wei Yao and Jamison Goodnight...
...performed an impromptu adagio for me.
Jamison and Wei
...tries on a new costume, and he looks great.http://oberon481.typepad.com/oberons_grove/