NAI-NI CHEN DANCE COMPANY: World Premiere of First Touch to be performed at NJPAC on Friday, June 3, 2016 at 7:30pm

The program of five dances to showcase the diversity of choreographer Nai-Ni Chen's inspiration.

The critically-acclaimed Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company will perform at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center(NJPAC) on Friday, June 3, 2016 at 7:30pm. The dances of choreographer Nai-Ni Chen fuse the dynamic freedom of American modern dance with the elegant splendor of Asian art. Enjoy a full evening of her work which The New York Times calls "endlessly proliferating forces of cosmic energy." An extraordinary cast of dancers and musicians takes you on a fantastic journey that blossoms with color, energy, and motion. NJPAC audiences have experienced the Chinese Lunar New Year spectacles that Nai-Ni Chen produces each year and have witnessed the power and grace of her work alongside traditional dances. This summer performance is a presentation not to be missed!

NJPAC is located at 1 Center Street, Newark, NJ 07102. Tickets are $20-$50 and can be purchased at http://www.njpac.org/events/detail/nai-ni-chen-dance-company-1 

About The Nai-Ni Chen Program at NJPAC 

From her own cultural journey as a Chinese immigrant in America, Nai-Ni Chen created Calligrafitti with noted composer Huang Ruo - a new piece which links the graceful, elegant lines of Chinese calligraphic art with the grit and rebellious freedom of American graffiti. According to Ink Painting Today "Calligraphy is sheer life experienced through energy in motion that is registered as traces on silk or paper, with time and rhythm in shifting space its main ingredients.". By this definition, calligraphy reflects Nai-Ni Chen's own background in Chinese dance, Peking Opera, and Chinese martial art. On the other hand, graffiti was born out of thirst for expression in the urban environment. For Nai-Ni, it reflects her immigration to America: her search for a sense of freedom as an 18-year-old performer first visiting New York City. Calligrafitti - will be performed with live music by the New Asia Chamber Music Society.

Mirage (2009) further showcases Nai-Ni Chen's unique integration of Chinese philosophy and art into her work. Mirage originates from her journey to the Silk Road and integrates the essence of sculptures and paintings found within ancient Buddhist caves and the ecstatic rhythm and shifting motions of the Uyghur culture.

WORLD PREMIERE: First Touch, a new piece that will have its world premiere at this concert, is a sensuous, physical duet that examines the human primal desire to connect. 

Movable Figures, commissioned in 1999 for the Morningside Dance Festival, celebrates the art of Chinese puppetry and the singular polyrhythmic sound of the accompanying instruments. In this dance, Nai-Ni Chen recreates the sense of wonderment she felt when she first encountered the art-form.

Undercurrent is a new work and collaboration with Rutgers University Professor Jerry Chenoweth whose cello solo inspired Nai-Ni Chen to wonder how a woman finds freedom in a world dominated by men. This quartet explores the enduring inner strength that supports the surges of passion throughout our lives. Undercurrent will be performed with live music by the prize-winning cellist Nan-Cheng Chen.

These works are supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, New Music USA, and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner of the National Endowment for the Arts, Department of the State.

ABOUT NAI-NI CHEN DANCE COMPANY

The dances of Nai-Ni Chen fuse the dynamic freedom of American modern dance with the grace and splendor of Asian art. The Company's productions take the audience beyond cultural boundaries to where tradition meets innovation and freedom arises from discipline. The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company is a vital resource of culture in the eastern United States. Each year, thousands of audiences are transported beyond cultural boundaries to the common ground between tradition and innovation, discipline and freedom, and form and spirit. According to The New York Times, they "...essentially recreated nature..."

Choreographer and dancer Nai-Ni Chen is an artist whose work defies categorization, as she is continually working on new ideas from influences around the world. Her mesmerizing and dramatic contemporary choreography has gained increasing recognition among domestic and international presenters and festivals. Recently, the Company was honored by a distinctive grant award from both the President's Committee on Arts and Humanities and the Department of State to represent the United States in a seven-city tour arranged by the Tamaulipas International Arts Festival in Mexico.

Presented by some of the most prestigious concert halls in the United States, from the Joyce Theater in New York to the Ordway Center in Minnesota and the Cerritos Center in California, the Company has mounted twenty national tours and seven tours abroad.  Ms. Chen's work has been presented by such acclaimed international festivals as the Silesian International Contemporary Dance Festival and the Konfrontations International Dance Festival, both in Poland, the Chang Mu International Arts Festival in Korea and the China International Dance Festival.

The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company also has the unique honor of having received more than fifteen awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and numerous Citations of Excellence and grants from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. In the First China International Dance Festival in Kunming, Yunan, the China Dance Association presented to the Company its most prestigious honor for companies not based in China, the Golden Lotus Award.

The Company's commissioned dances include American Landscape (New Jersey Performing Arts Center), Peach Flower Landscape (Lincoln Center Institute), Qian Kun (Joyce Theater),Tianji/Dragons on the Wall (Andrew W. Mellon Foundation through the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust), The Way of Five (Towson University) and Unfolding (Dancing in the Streets).

ABOUT NJPAC


New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in downtown Newark, New Jersey, is among the largest performing arts centers in the United States and is the artistic, cultural, educational and civic center of New Jersey - where great performances and events enhance and transform lives every day. NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the state's and the world's best artists while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city. Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts. NJPAC has attracted more than 10 million visitors (including over 1.5 million children) since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents. NJPAC is a proud partner of Newark Celebration 350.