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Michelle Tabnick
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Martha Graham Studio Theater
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New York, NY

NAI-NI CHEN DANCE COMPANY presents The New York Premiere of CROSSCURRENT, June 22-24

by Michelle Tabnick
May 26, 2017
Martha Graham Studio Theater
55 Bethune Street, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10014
(212) 229-9200
The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company will present the New York Premiere of Ms. Chen's CrossCurrent, a collection of new works created on her journey as an immigrant artist attempting to reconcile the two cultures inside her, one she was born into, the other she chose to join. Performances: June 22-24, 2017 at 7:30pm at Martha Graham Studio Theater on the penthouse level, 55 Bethune St, New York, NY 10014. Tickets: $30; $15, info: 800-650-0246 or www.nainichen.org/NYSeason.

Opening CrossCurrent will be Earth, a 2010 work to the commissioned music from Gerald Chenoweth, in which she explores the essence of the Chinese Taoist's belief that the essential elements of the physical world are made up by five elemental energies symbolized by Wood, Fire, Water, Metal and Earth. These elemental energies both substantiate and annihilate each other.  Chinese medicine and Fengshui are both heavily influenced by this idea of the five elements. The central element, Earth, can be used to annihilate the power of water, and substantiate the power of metal. In this dance, Nai-Ni Chen uses the space on stage as her canvas to create a moving landscape that flows like lava in the center of the planet, waiting for an opening to explode. The movement language she created for this dance is based on trance, breathing, and continuous spiral motion that is central to Tai Chi and other forms of Chinese Martial Art.

Calligraffiti Variations (New York Premiere) is a new work to the music of Huang Ruo, based on the common experience of many Chinese artist's first encounter with New York and its Graffiti art. The journey of an immigrant adapting to the new homeland is full of struggle and discovery. In this new dance, Ms. Chen attempts to illustrate this by looking at the elegant and graceful line of Chinese calligraphy and the bold, colorful street art she sees on subways and buildings of New York City. This contrast is a parallel of an immigrant's journey.  We strive to honor the tradition and at the same time advance the state of the art towards the future through our unique, everyday cross-cultural experience.

Bamboo Rap (New York Premiere), inspired by the amazing spoken work art form of Kuaiban originated in Beijing over 100 years ago and still practiced today. It is a unique folk art where storytellers accompany their own vocal performance with the rhythmic sound of a pair asymmetrical bamboo clappers. In this dance, Nai-Ni explores the marvelous rhythmic innovations created by the exotic percussion instruments and the spoken Chinese language. The dance is choreographed by using the sound and rhythm as inspiration to create a movement language responding to the flow of spoken words.

Uncharted Destiny (World Premiere), is inspired by the human experience of migration, which is sometimes inspiring, sometimes unsettling but always arresting.  In an Untitled work of Nai-Ni Chen's favorite poet, Bei Dao: 
sorrow that comes from afar
is a form of power
that I used to saw tables
some people depart for love
while a palace in pursuit of storms
journeys past many kingdoms


Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company presents CrossCurrent
Thu June 22 , Fri. June 23 and Sat June 24 7:30pm
Martha Graham Studio Theater on the penthouse level of 55 Bethune St, New York, NY 10014
Tickets: $30; $15 for students/seniors/children 12 & under
Reservations: 800-650-0246 or www.nainichen.org/NYSeason
Dancers: Greta Campo, Antonio Cangiano, Alessio Crognale, Candace Jarvis, Hannah Jew, Jerard Palazo, Bo Pang, Patrick Piras
Costumes: Anna-Alisa Belous
Lighting Designer: Yi-Chung Chen
Visual Artist: Jayanthi Moorthy
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 few professional Asian American dance companies touring in the United States.  Nai-Ni Chen's unique productions transports audiences beyond cultural boundaries to the common ground between tradition and innovation, discipline and freedom, form and spirit.  "like endlessly proliferating forces of cosmic energy"… New York Times.

The Company has earned a broad base of public support and has toured extensively to major performing arts centers throughout more than thirty states. Presented by some of the most prestigious concert halls in the United States, from the NJPAC in Newark, BPAC in Brooklyn to the Cerritos Center in California; the Company has mounted more than twenty national tours and nine tours abroad in Asia, South America and Europe.

The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company has 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.  Our supporter and sponsors include the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation; the Hyde and Watson Foundation; Horizon Foundation, Glow Foundation; the E.J. Grassman Trust; the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council; New Music/USA; Association of Performing Arts Presenter Cultural Exchange Fund; WAC Lighting, PSE&G and the Board of Directors of the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company. Currently, the Company is in-residence at New Jersey City University in Jersey City, NJ. The Company would also like to express gratitude to the National Dance Institute and the Harlem School of the Arts for their support in New York City over the years.
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