The South Orange Performing Arts Center proudly presents the award-winning Nai-Ni Chen dance company in a 60-minute virtual presentation Saturday, April 10 at 7:30PM. Sponsored by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company has received more than 20 awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and numerous Citations of Excellence and grants from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
Bridging the grace of Asian elegance and American dynamism, the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company is a premier provider of innovative cultural experiences that reflect the hope and energy of the immigrant’s journey. The company’s ground-breaking works have focused on themes from ancient Chinese legends that reflect issues of the present time to purely abstract, contemporary dances inspired by the art of Chinese calligraphy. An Asian-American company that celebrates the cross-cultural experience, the Company’s productions bring forth issues of identity, authenticity, and equality.
The featured dances include two world premieres along with two works created in 2019. The program will also feature an interview with Nai-Ni Chen by renowned dance critic Robert Johnson. She speaks about her inspiration and the deeper themes of each dance, further enhancing audience appreciation of her works.
Luminescence (premiere), with music by Max Richter and featuring dancers Yuka Notsuka and Rio Kakuchi explores the feelings of sanctuary we find in the grace, magic and wonder of nature and reminds us how we coexist with other life forms. This theme highlights our need to honor the beauty in nature and to respect and preserve the environment.
Shadow Force (premiere) with music by Max Richter and Somei Satoh highlights our yearning to connect with others while we are in an isolated state. Featuring dancers Evan Matthew Stewart, Candace Jarvis, Greta Campo, Sonny Shiu, Rio Kakuchi and Ethan Gwynn
Truth Bound (2019) Music by Joan La Barbara, Para Avis and Nocturnal Emissions. Truth Bound was developed as a reaction to the crisis of faith and trust perceived in society today. To find clarity, the seeker for truth must look deeper under the surface to discover the core. To create this dance, Nai-Ni Chen used improvisation and her background in traditional Chinese theatrical movement and various styles of martial art to collaboratively create this piece. Dancers include Greta Campo and Ethan Gwynn.
Introspection (2019) Music by Jacob Ter Veldhuis and Prism Quartet. Normally, dancers are lit by external lights on stage. In this dance, the dancers light themselves from different perspectives and onto each other in order to look deeper into their own identity. Sonny Shiu, Greta Campo, Evan Matthew Stewart and Yuka Notsuka are featured in this piece.
Tickets are $10, and free for SOPAC members. To purchase tickets, contact SOPAC at (973) 313-2787 or visit https://www.sopacnow.org/events/nai-ni-chen-dance-company/. The Box Office is currently available by phone M-F, 12-4 p.m.