Performance

Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company presents A Celebration of 2024 Asian American Pacific Islanders Heritage Month at Hostos Center for Arts and Culture

May 11 – May 12, 2024
7:30 – 3PM

The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, the renowned international touring dance company founded by Chinese American choreographer Nai-Ni Chen, and now led by Artistic Director Greta Campo and Executive Director Andy Chiang, will launch its 36th anniversary season at Hostos Center for Arts and Culture. The production celebrates the 2024 Asian American Pacific Islanders Heritage Month, which will showcase Chen’s distinctive cross-cultural style and the diverse influences that informed her work, as well as new commissions since Nai-Ni Chen’s untimely passing in 2021. Highlights include the Company’s 2022 commission, Betwixt and Between, by Jacek Luminski and Peiju Chien-Pott, a 2024 commission, Reincarnation, by choreographer Aloe Ao Liu and the revival of Nai-Ni Chen’s 2000 work Carousel Divertimento for 7 dancers. Performances will take place Saturday May 11th, 7:30PM to 9PM and Sunday May 12, 3PM to 4:30PM. Tickets are $30 at the door $15 for students and seniors and can be purchased by calling (718) 518-4455; at the box office: 450 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10451
or online at: https://mpv.tickets.com/schedule/?agency=HCAV_PL_MPV&orgid=56451#/?view=list&includePackages=true.

The celebration will open with one of Chen’s most playful dances, Carousel Divertimento, which explores the flow of energy and the dynamics of the brush strokes used in painting horses in the art of Chinese ink painting. In addition to Carousel Divertimento, the performance will feature original work from Jacek Luminski and PeiJu Chien-Pott. In 2022, after Nai-Ni Chen passed away, master choreographer Jacek Luminski began to work with PeiJu Chien-Pott to develop Betwixt and Between, a new work for the Company honoring Nai-Ni Chen’s spirit as a choreographer between cultures. The dance premiered in Poland at the Lublin International Dance Festival during the summer of 2023. In 2024, choreographer Aloe Ao Liu from Yunan developed a new dance, Reincarnation, based on her observed rituals of the Dragon People in the mountains of Yunnan province, China. Reincarnation is a seven dancer work which premieres this season. The celebration will conclude with Mirage, a dance inspired by Chen’s journey along the Silk Road with music by Glen Velez. The dance explores trance, rhythmic breathing, and sounds and spiral motions that are characteristic of the dances of Uyghur people of Xinjiang in China.

About Nai-Ni Chen
Nai-Ni Chen (1959-2021) was a legendary choreographer who worked in NJ/NY area professionally for over thirty years since coming to the US in 1982. She has built a diverse repertoire of over 80 original works and toured to major venues in the US and international festivals in 12 countries around the world. A cross-cultural choreographer who aims to bring audience across the cultural boundaries, she has developed unique movement and choreographic styles that reflect the grace and splendor of the Chinese cultural traditions she studied in Taiwan since youth and the dynamic spirit of modern dance that she acquired in New York from luminaries such as Mary Anthony, Bertram Ross, Doris Rudko and Patricia Rowe.

Nai-Ni Chen has received multiple Choreographer Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. She has been a principal affiliate of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and was a resident artist of the Harlem School of the Arts. Her contribution to the immigrant cultural experience has been honored by OCA and the International Institute. Commissions have come from the Joyce Theater Foundation, the Lincoln Center Institute, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Towson University, Dancing in the Streets, New Jersey Ballet, Ballet Met, and the Cleveland Dancing Wheels. Nai-Ni is currently in residence in New Jersey City University creating a new dance program for the university in collaboration with the Joffrey Ballet School as well as pioneering a program with the University’s Laboratory School for children with multiple disabilities.

About PeiJu Chien-Pott
PeiJu Chien-Pott, the Director of Creative and Contemporary Dance for the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, is an internationally acclaimed contemporary dance artist from Taiwan, described as “one of the greatest living modern dancers”, celebrated particularly for her work as Principal Dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company and her performances in the iconic roles of the Graham repertory. On the theater stage, PeiJu was Principal Actress in the latest Kung Fu musical “Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise” commissioned by The Shed and choreographed by Akram Khan. Her many awards include a Bessie for “Outstanding Performance”, Positano Premia La Danza Leonide Massine for “Best Female Contemporary Dancer”, Capri International Dance Awards, included “Best Performers” in the 2014 and 2017 Dance Magazines, and numerous awards in her native Taiwan. PeiJu currently serves as a faculty member at The Ailey School and her commercial work is represented by MMG New York.

About Jacek Luminski
Jacek Luminski is one of Poland’s leading choreographers. He is the Dean of the Department of Dance at the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice, Poland and holds a professorship at the Beijing Dance Academy in China. He is the founding artistic director and choreographer of the contemporary dance company Luminski Dance Project and is considered the founding father of Polish Contemporary Dance, lauded for his dedication to the development and promotion of dance nationally and internationally. Supported by the EU, Mr. Luminski, as executive/artistic director of the Silesian Dance Theatre worked with six European dance schools, developing the country’s first accredited university dance curriculum. Luminski has received numerous awards for his outstanding achievements in developing a unique style, technique and form of dance theater. For more than a decade, Luminski has been a main figure behind the institutionalized creative support for young and independent choreographers in Poland – exemplified in the Art Spaces-Katowice Program established with support from the Institute of Music and Dance (as well as the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage). Currently he is working on an international dance project “Roots of Dance” established by the National Institute of Music and Dance. His main areas of research interest include, persistent systems of identity formation, embodied culture, contemporary transformations of citizenship, etc. Jacek is a graduate of pedagogy department of dance at the Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw.

About Aloe Ao Liu
Aloe Ao Liu is a performance artist, dancer and choreographer. She is currently the Performance Director with CAAM Chinese Dance Theater in St. Paul, Minnesota . Aloe performed extensively throughout China, Asia and Europe including the Shanghai World Expo and the Beijing Olympics. She was a principal and soloist for 8 years with China’s most renowned dancer/director Liping Yang, otherwise known as the “Peacock Princess”. During this period Liu performed in world famous Chinese dance productions including “Dynamic Yunnan”, “A Shangri-La Spectacular”, “The Beautiful South.” A graduate of the Yunnan Arts Institute, her contemporary dance performances have been shown in Kunming, Macau and the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis, MN.

About Hyunji Kim
Hyunji Kim is a South Korean cellist based in the United States. She won a numerous competition in South Korea and the Avenir Prize at the Osaka International Competition, the 2nd Prize at The France Music Competition, and the 3rd Prize at the International Music Competition. Also, she won the Grand Prize at the New York International Classical Music Competition with her chamber group and Hyunji was selected for the Ewon Young Artist concert and made her recital debut at 12 years old. Also, she made a concerto debut at 15 with the Yangju Philharmonic Orchestra in Korea and also appeared with the Korean Chamber Orchestra, NEC Cello Ensemble, and Seoul Soloist Cello Ensemble. During her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, she was an active chamber player. Her groups were selected to perform in the ‘Spirit of SNU Strings’ held by Seoul National University at SNU Recital Hall and Seoul Arts Center. She also performed at the Juilliard Winter Chamber Festival in Paul Hall, the Juilliard School. Hyunji has attended music festivals including Euro Music Academy, Tignes Music Alp Festival, Tanglewood Music Festival, and the New York String Orchestra Seminar. As a guest musician, she has performed with the Tongyeong Festival Orchestra, conducted by Dalia Stasevska. Hyunji Kim received her bachelor’s degree at Seoul National University where she studied with Joon-ho Shim and Minji Kim. She is currently studying for her master’s degree at the Juilliard School under Timothy Eddy and Clara Minhye Kim.

About Rose Hsien
Taiwanese violinist Rose Hsien, currently based in London and New York, is building a strong international reputation as a soloist, recitalist and chamber musician through distinctive and unusually mature performances. She has performed across Europe, Asia and the United States with orchestras such as the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Prague Philharmonic and the Russian Symphony Orchestra and in venues including Carnegie Hall, the Concertgebouw, Rudolfinum’s Dvorak Hall, the Barbican, and the Wigmore Hall. Recently she gave a recital tour involving concerts around the world which included her Tokyo debut at the Suntory Hall in Japan. She was a prize winner/finalist in the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition, the 6th International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians, the International Debussy Competition at the Salzburg Mozarteum and the 2017 1st Berliner International Music Competition. During 2017-2019, Rose was invited to participate in the prestigious Marlboro Music Festival. Born in Taiwan, Rose moved to Singapore at 14 years of age, where she was admitted to the Bachelor’s programme at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore, studying with Qian Zhou. She subsequently moved to London to study with David Takeno at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She is currently pursuing a PhD at the Royal Academy of Music. She plays on a Bergonzi, generously lent to her by the Rin Collection.

About Sungwon Kim
Sungwon Kim is a passionate violist and chamber musician from South Korea. She had a debut recital hosted by Kumho(Korea) and performed at Accademia Musicale Chigiana, Italy. She has performed as a soloist with Seongnam Philharmonic, Suwon Philharmonic, and Bucheon Philharmonic orchestras. She also developed her career as a chamber musician. Sungwon is a founding member of the Luz String Quartet, since 2018, and performed at Kumho Art Hall, Samsung Classic Tonic Concert, and Seocho Chamber Festival. In Juilliard School, she performed Chamber Festival and attended Tanglewood Music Center 2023 as a TMC fellow. She has studied with Ji-Hye Hong and Ensik Choi, and received her Bachelor’s degree from Seoul National University and currently pursuing her Master’s at the Juilliard School with Steven Tenenbom.

About Dr. Andy Lin
Taiwanese-American violist and erhuist (Chinese violin), Dr. Andy Lin, is recognized as the only active performers who specialized in both western and eastern instruments. Praised by The Strad “The great Molto adagio…elicited some of the night’s most sensitive work, especially from Andy Lin on viola.” and New York Times “Taiwanese-born violist Andy Lin…is also a virtuoso on the erhu, and he gave a brilliant performance.” Andy is the artistic director and co-founder of the New Asia Chamber Music Society and holds his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School and his Doctor’s degree in Musical Arts from SUNY Stony Brook. He has won numerous competitions including Taiwan National Viola Competition and First Prize in the 2008 Juilliard Viola Concerto Competition. He has also appeared as a viola and/or erhu soloist with orchestras such as the Busan Metropolitan Traditional Music Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Children’s Orchestra Society, Grant Park Symphony Orchestra, Incheon Philharmonic, the Juilliard Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony, New York Classical Players, Orford Academy Orchestra, Solisti Ensemble and Yonkers Philharmonic Orchestra. Andy is also a founding member of the Sullivan String Quartet and a member of the Musicians of Lenox Hill and serves as principal violist of the New York Classical Players and the Solisti Ensemble. He has also been invited to perform chamber music with Itzhak Perlman. He has also been invited by the Metropolitan Museum to give recitals at their Gallery Concert Series and Patrons Lounge Concert, as well as a recital at the Caramoor Center for the Music and the Arts. (www.andylinviola.com)

About the Hostos Center for Arts & Culture
Named “the powerful locus for Latino art” by the New York Times, the Hostos Center serves the cultural needs of South Bronx residents and neighboring communities. As a leader in Latinx and African-based programming, the Center creates performing and visual arts forums in which the diverse cultural heritages of its audiences are celebrated and nurtured. The Hostos Center consists of two state-of-the art theaters of 900 and 367 seats each, an experimental Black Box theater and a museum-grade art gallery. Hostos Center events are sponsored by the Hostos Community College Foundation with funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Howard Gilman Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Office of NYC Councilmember Rafael Salamanca, Jr. www.hostoscenter.org

About the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company
The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company is a rare Asian American woman led professional touring company with programs for educational settings, community organizations and mainstage venues. The Company’s mission is to be a premier provider of innovative cultural experiences that reflect the inspiring hope and energy of the immigrant’s journey. It was founded with the vision that the journey of crossing cultures and adapting to a new home provides endless inspirations and opportunities for creative expressions that can enrich the human experience. Each one of the company’s work is aimed to increase the visibility of the struggle, triumph, despair and joy of this experience. The Company’s productions provide authentic experiences and bring forth issues of identity, authenticity, and equality. The Company’s worldwide touring is represented by Red Shell Management led by Edward Schoelwer.

Choreography is developed with dancers from diverse backgrounds, and each rehearsal is an immersive, boundary-crossing journey that contributes to the creative process under the direction of the choreographers. Our repertory of Nai-Ni Chen’s original works bridge the grace and power of Asian arts and American dynamism which incorporated her broad influences. The company also preserves a variety of festive dances from different regions of China choreographed by guest immigrant artists bearing their tradition.

The Company began to tour in the early 1990s, originally on the East Coast, and later internationally. The dance company is multi-racial and multi-national and has collaborated with a wide range of artists from different disciplines and cultures. Musical collaborators range from New Music, jazz to classical, they include Joan La Barbara, The Chinese Music Ensemble of NY, Jason Kao Hwang, Huang Ruo, Kenji Bunch, Tan Dun, Glen Velez and most recently, the Ahn Trio. Award-winning designers and visual artists such as Myung Hee Cho, Jay Moorthy, AC Hickox and costume designer Karen Young. These collaborations provided us the opportunity to develop innovative productions that carry the timeless essence of the tradition.

In addition to domestic touring, the company has also performed at international festivals in Mexico, Canada, British Virgin Islands, Guatemala, Germany, Poland, Russia, Lithuania, South Korea and China with support from Fund for Mutual Understanding, The President’s Committee for the Arts, Arts International and the State Department of the United States. Ms. Chen has received multiple Choreographer’s Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and from New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Her work has also been commissioned by the Joyce Theater Foundation, the Lincoln Center Institute, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Dancing in the Streets, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation and New Jersey Performing Art Center.

Prominent Institutions, including the Lincoln Center Institute, the Joyce Theater, Dancing in the Streets, NJ Ballet, Ballet Met, Dancing Wheels, and Baraka Sele at NJPAC all have commissioned notable works. The most recent tour, “A Quest for Freedom”, developed with the Ahn Trio, premiered at the Philadelphia NextMove Festival. The Company is currently in residence at New Jersey City University’s A. Harry Moore for students with disabilities and in Elizabeth School #26, a school of mostly immigrant children.

Acknowledgement
Programs of the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company have been made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts, 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 Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, 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. WQXR is a media partner of the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company.

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