Last Sunday, I was invited to take my family to NJPAC to see the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company’s Show. I was so grateful for the invite and jumped at the chance to take my 8-year-old. She has been learning Mandarin as part of Nisuane’s Mandarin program since kindergarten, I love dance and it was the start of the Lunar New Year, so it was a perfect opportunity for both of us.
If you haven’t been to NJPAC yet, what are you waiting for? No seriously? It’s a beautiful space with great shows. The truth is, I have been there many times, but only once before for a family show. I took my girls to a Dan Zanes show a couple of years ago. But this was the first time that I, or my daughter, got to experience a FamilyTime performance, which includes either a pre- or a post-show workshop.
After the show, which we both really enjoyed, we were invited to the workshop. My daughter and a group of other children were greeted by a man from Nai-Ni Chen. He talked about Chinese New Year and the year of the dragon. He discussed the other Chinese Zodiac animals and then showed the kids his own Lion mask he made out of a paper plate and some construction paper. The kids were excited to get to work and created their own Chinese Lions. Once they were compete he had the kids take their masks over to an open area and taught them a traditional Lion Dance. The kids, and their photo snapping parents, loved it.
Next, we were honored by Ms. Nai-Ni Chen herself, who handed out ribbons and taught the kids a traditional Chinese ribbon dance.
The workshop, which included arts & crafts, cultural lessons and dance lasted about an hour. My daughter had a blast and was so proud when Ms. Chen told her she was impressed with her Mandarin pronunciation when she wished her a Happy New Year. It was a great experience.
NJPAC’s FamilyTime Programs serve students PreK-12th grade, and families with children ages 3 to 18. NJPAC also provides curriculum materials, professional development workshops, pre-performance workshops, and meet-the-artist sessions, all designed to reinforce the educational value of each program.
Photo Slide Show: http://www.flickr.com//photos/baristakids/sets/72157629017357633/show/