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Michelle Tabnick
Dance New York
Press Releases
United States
New York City
New York
New York, NY

Nai-Ni Chen Named "Distinguished Service to the Field" Award Winner, 2020 Association of Teaching Artists Awards

by Michelle Tabnick
June 29, 2020
New York, NY
Nai-Ni Chen has been named winner of the Distinguished Service to the Field Award, an honor given to long-tenured artist educators, in the 2020 Annual Association of Teaching Artists (ATA) Awards. Nai-Ni Chen has spent over 20 years teaching dance artistry in the tristate area with her eponymous dance company, positively impacting over 100 schools with both in-school residencies and assembly performances. Early in her career, the educational value of her work was recognized by the Lincoln Center Institute, which commissioned her for a new work, Peach Flower Landscape. Later, she collaborated with ChinaSprout.com to create a video titled, The Art of Chinese Dance, which has been collected by over 1,000 libraries, schools and higher educational institutions. In the Chinese American community, Nai-Ni Chen is a recognized master of traditional and contemporary dance. Of particular note is Nai-Ni Chen's partnership with the A. Harry Moore Laboratory School for students with disabilities.

The ATA awards ceremony will be streamed on Thursday, July 23, 2020 from 7pm-8pm as part of Lincoln Center "Activate," a professional development series for teaching artists. Registration for the event is available at:

ATA is pleased to partner with both Lincoln Center "Activate" and the podcast Teaching Artistry with Courtney J. Boddieto host the 2020 ATA Awards. Lincoln Center "Activate" brings together teaching artists, educators, community artists, and arts leaders to build a global network that supports arts professionals in a changing landscape. Activate connects and inspires leaders in the education and community engagement fields to spark change in classrooms, communities, and beyond. ATA award winners will be featured in future Activate offerings. Teaching Artistry with Courtney J. Boddie highlights teaching artistry's impact across communities. The show features riveting conversations with teaching artists and arts education leaders, who work with intention to move the profession forward, exact change and are fiercely devoted advocates for the arts. ATA award winners will get their own feature episode on the podcast.

This year's ATA awards will also honor Kwame Scruggs, with the Innovation in Teaching Artistry Award, and Dennie Palmer Wolf, with the Teaching Artist Ally Award.

About Nai-Ni Chen

Hailed as a Spiritual Choreographer by Dance Magazine and recipient of multiple choreographic fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Nai-Ni Chen has been creating dances professionally for over thirty years in the United States. She has built a diverse repertory of over 80 original works and toured to major venues in the US and international contemporary dance festivals in 12 countries. She will be teaching her signature technique KINETIC SPIRAL which is a blend of the dynamic, ever-evolving spirit of contemporary dance and the grace and splendor of the Chinese artistic traditions.

Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company
A blossom of color, energy and motion, "like endlessly proliferating forces of cosmic energy," says the New York Times.

About the 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, discipline and freedom, and form and spirit.

Since its inception in 1988, 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 Joyce Theater in New York to the Ordway Center in Minnesota and the Cerritos Center in California, the Company has mounted more than twenty national tours and nine 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 Meet in Beijing International Arts Festival. The Company was also 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. Also, the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company 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 addition to its extensive season of touring and performing, the company has developed Arts in Education residency programs in school districts to bring culture and arts into educational settings. It's colorful and engaging in-school assembly program "The Art of Chinese Dance" has been presented in hundreds of schools in NJ, NY, CT and PA, reaching hundreds of thousands of youth. The Company is currently in-residence at New Jersey City University and assisting
NJCU in the development of a new BFA in Dance.

For additional Company information, visit www.nainichen.org; write to Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, P.O. Box 1121, Fort Lee, NJ 07024; or call (800) 650-0246.

About the Association of Teaching Artists
The Association of Teaching Artists is the oldest, independent organization serving Teaching Artists in the country. ATA serves teaching artists in New York State and has a national and international following. It is a clearinghouse for information at the intersection of art and education that builds the knowledge base of Teaching Artists.

The Association of Teaching Artists
- Is a forum and a knowledge commons for the professional practice of Teaching Artists
- Is a practitioner led network for communication, connection, and the exchange of resources
- Is a community of practice to support and expand opportunities for the work of Teaching Artists in education and in communities
- Recognizes and celebrates distinguished achievement by Teaching Artists
- Advances policies and initiatives that broaden opportunities and recognition for the work of Teaching Artists.

ATA reaches approximately 30,000 Teaching Artists and arts professionals weekly through its website, digital professional development programs, newsletter, and social media. @assocoftas teachingartists.com

About the ATA Awards
Established in 2002, the ATA Awards were the first in the nation to recognize artist educators. The ATA Awards seek to raise the visibility of teaching artists within the arts in education and community arts fields and in the organizations and institutions for which they work as well as honor innovation in teaching artistry. Nominations are made by peers in the teaching artistry field and winners are selected by panel review.
Nai-Ni Chen

Nai-Ni Chen

Photo © & courtesy of Photographer Unknown

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