Tuesday, October 11, 2011

In the Studio with Nai-Ni Chen

Oberon's Grove blog entry (by Philip Gardner)

Friday September 7, 2011 - Nai-Ni Chen is one of my favorite choreographers. Her work is rooted deep in the ancient cultures of Asia but it also has a contemporary sweep and sheen that
make it extremely appealing. She seems to find the very essence of whetever musical forms she is working with, and to sense the undercurrents of energy in a rhythmic pattern.
Her dancers are finely attuned to her concepts and they move with a certain fluidity of style that has a ceremonial

Today I went to watch Nai-Ni's rehearsal at DANY studios; she spent the first couple of hours having her dancers work with composer/percussionist Glen Velez. Glen was tapping out rhythmic patterns on a frame drum and the dancers were chanting in accented counter-rhythms. This actually has a genuine musical appeal. From there Nai-Ni asked the dancers to improvise movement, using the breathing mechanism of sustained chanted notes as a support while branching out on the ideas that Glen had shared with them. This led to some really lovely expressive improv.

I posted some of my snapshots from Glen's class on Facebook here. It was so enjoyable to watch Nai-Ni's dancers but I needed to be at another rehearsal at DANY so I left them chanting and improvising. Later, after Kokyat arrived, we decided to go back to Nai-Ni's studio and that's when Kokyat took the photos in this article.

Ekaterina Chernikhova, Riyo Mito, Sarah Pon, Jamison Goodnight

Ekaterina Chernikhova, Jung Hm Jo, Noibis Licea, Sarah Pon, Jamison Goodnight, Riyo Mito

Jamison Goodnight, Jung Hm Jo, Guanglei Hui, Noibis Licea, Ekaterina Chernikhova

Riyo Mito

Sarah Pon, Riyo Mito, Jamison Goodnight

Guanglei Hui, Ekaterina Chernikhova

Jamison Goodnight

Riyo Mito

Sarah Pon, Jung Hm Jo

Riyo Mito, Jamison Goodnight, Ekaterina Chernikhova

Photos by Kokyat

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