Community Event

Elizabeth Students Participate in a Statewide Dance Education Program! Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company partners with the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Dance New Jersey, and Young Audiences Arts for Learning, to get students up and dancing!

March 10 – March 31, 2020

Elizabeth Students Participate in a Statewide Dance Education Program! Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company partners with the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Dance New Jersey, and Young Audiences Arts for Learning, to get students up and dancing!

The world renowned Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company has received funding from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation to facilitate the Dance to Learn curriculum in Elizabeth’s Dr. Orlando Edreira School #26. Dance to Learn is a four-year interdisciplinary and inclusive dance curriculum with the goal to advance dance education in schools and community settings.  Dance New Jersey and Young Audiences Arts for Learning (YA) will work with the  Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company  to develop a new, creative and fun curriculum for the third graders of the school  that is infused with Asian American artistic values. Through this unique collaboration, teaching artists of the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company and Ms. Akila Chetan, an expert in Indian Classical Dance  will work with School #26 to offer an original curriculum that is diverse, inclusive, arts based and arts integrated.
Wendy Liscow, Education Program Director at The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation shared “The Dodge Foundation is pleased that Dance to Learnhas successfully helped advance dance education programming throughout New Jersey over the past ten years. The D2L team has multiplied impact by providing professional development and support to over 11 New Jersey professional dance companies who together have helped over 50 school partners get students up and dancing." 
Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company’s application to be a Dance to Learn provider demonstrated a real commitment to offering schools exceptional dance education,” said Michele Russo, President & CEO of Young Audiences. “We look forward to working with Nai-Ni Chen, Hayoung Roh, Sonny Shiu and Guru Akhila Chetan and Dr. Orlando Edreira Academy to offer an innovative model of dance education that aligns with the NJ Department of Education Core Curriculum Standards for Dance and the National Core Arts Standards in Dance.”

Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company will work with Dance New Jersey, YA’s staff and Dr. Orlando Edreira Academy to implement the statewide dance curriculum. The grant will provide funding for: 
professional dance performances at the school by Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company
10 to 16 days of the Dance to Learn curriculum for students in the third grade
professional learning to help teachers use dance in their classrooms
assistance in creating a community event celebrating students’ work
“We are thrilled to receive this generous Dance to Learn opportunity,” said Howard Teitelbaum, principal of  Dr. Orlando Edreira Academy. "Providing quality arts programming to our students has always been a goal at School #26, but not always possible in these difficult economic times. With the help of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Young Audiences Arts for Learning and Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, we can now offer our students this dance education curriculum that offers an inroad to kinesthetic learning and connects to language arts, mathematics, science and social studies, physical education and music curriculums.“

About  Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company
Bringing the dynamic freedom of American modern dance together with the elegant splendor of Asian art, the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company is one of the most visible Asian American dance companies in America.  Ms. Chen’s unique choreography transports audiences beyond cultural boundaries to the common ground between tradition and innovation, rising beyond form into the spirit.
One of the few Asian American professional dance companies with an extensive season of touring and performing around the world, Nai-Ni Chen has also developed Arts in Education residency programs in school districts to bring culture and arts into educational settings.  Its colorful and engaging programs and workshops have reached over one million young audience members in the NY/NJ area. The Company is currently in residence at New Jersey City University and has been a Principal Affiliate of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center since its inception.

The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company has the 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, Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Jersey Cultural Trust, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.  Additional funding for the company have come from: the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, DanceNYC Dance Advancement Fund, the Hyde and Watson Foundation, E.J. Grassman Trust, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, New Music USA, the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, American Dance Abroad, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters’ Cultural Exchange Fund, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, PSEG, Proskauer, WAC Lighting and the Glow Foundation.

About Guru Akhila Chetan
Guru Smt. Akhilandeshwari is the Founding Director of Kalagangothri Foundation along with Artistic Director Guru Sri. Chetan Hebbar, are a dynamic Bharathanatya dance couple from India/ USA has over the years carved their name in the field of creative arts as dedicated Bharathanatya artists. Her productions are appreciated for innovation, creativity, enthusiasm to Bharathanatya.

Akhila is a committed artist and is very clear with her ideas to pursue and dedicate herself to represent this art form. The effective training and the vast amount of skills received by legendary tutors has made Akhila one of the most sought after talented and creative artists. She is the recipient of prestigious "Purandara Anugraha” Award - 2014 for her services in  the dance field by TTD, Trust, Tirupati, Government of AP, India and has received various titles and awards from reputed organizations in recognition of her work in India & the USA.

About Dance New Jersey
Dance New Jersey is a service organization committed to advocating the excellence of dance and dance education in the state. In service to its mission, Dance New Jersey seeks to:

raise public awareness by cultivating relationships with community and civic organizations, funders, policy makers and presenters;
foster the artistic and administrative growth of its members through resource sharing, dialogue and collaboration;
advocate for high quality performance, creation, and education in dance;
develop a strong funding base for dance in New Jersey.

To learn more about Dance New Jersey, visit To be “social” with us, join us on Facebook.

About The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation
For nearly 40 years, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation has nurtured leaders, ideas, and institutions which transcend self interest and promote a sustainable future. The foundation funds arts, education, environment and media initiatives that are innovative and promote collaboration and community-driven decision making.With an interest in systemic change in education, the foundation invests in Pre-K through 12th grade sequential arts education and arts-integration efforts that ensure children have the opportunity to receive comprehensive arts training and experience the benefits of a more dynamic, arts-infused curriculum. Implemented with fidelity over time, the arts can improve the culture of a struggling school, ignite principal and teacher creativity, and foster more joyful and learning-friendly classrooms. 
To learn more, visit

About Young Audiences Arts for Learning
Founded in 1973, Young Audiences Arts for Learning  is the premier arts-in-education resource in the region, providing high-quality performances and artist-in-residence programs to schools in all 21 counties of New Jersey and the 7 easternmost counties of Pennsylvania. Young Audiences’ extensive professional artist roster represents all art forms-from dance and theater to music, language and visual arts. Since its founding, the organization has reached over 12 million children with essential arts education experiences.
A not-for-profit organization, Young Audiences’ programs are accessible to all socio-economic, ethnic, cultural, and geographic communities, and are designed to strengthen the arts in schools, meet local and state curriculum standards, involve families in arts activities, and enrich cultural life in New Jersey and Pennsylvania communities.
Young Audiences Arts for Learning is the first arts education organization designated as a major service organization by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and, as part of the national network of Young Audiences, Inc., was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Clinton. Young Audiences programs are made possible in part through a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State and Pennsylvania Council of the Arts. Additional funding comes from foundations, corporations and generous individuals. To learn more, visit To be “social” with us, join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @YAAFL and on Instagram @YAAFL.
To learn more about Dance to Learn, visit
To be social with Dance to Learn, join us on Facebook.