Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company Virtual Presentation of Awakening @ SOPAC Free for the Month of May


WHEN: throughout the Month of May
on demand 
The program will be offered by SOPAC free, please register at:

Maplewood Township, South Orange Village, SOMA Cross Cultural Works and the AAPI Community unite to recognize and celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. These organizations stand in solidarity, the focus is on education, healing and creating joy as we honor the richness and diversity of Asian and Pacific Islander cultures with an exciting lineup of family oriented activities and programs. As part of the celebration, the South Orange Performing Arts Center will share Nai-Ni Chen’s new program Awakening free.

The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company is an innovative international touring dance company that has been a leading force Asian American contemporary dance since its founding. Its director Nai-Ni Chen has led her Company of 8 diverse dancers to create new dances and performed in festivals and residencies in Europe, Asia, and South America while maintaining close relationships with immigrant communities and educational partners in New Jersey, especially in schools serving students with disabilities. In this year of the pandemic, crisscrossing the world with Zoom, Nai-Ni Chen has been developing new relationships with dancers and choreographers on her new dance platform, The Bridge. These relationships and Ms. Chen’s distinctive experience as a female Asian American Immigrant choreographer inspired her to make a series of new, socially relevant work in a rare 60 minute long production titled Awakening that reflects her unique perspective as an Asian American immigrant woman choreographer. The program also includes comments and interviews by noted dance expert/writer, Robert Johnson.

Program Highlights

Truth Bound was developed during a residency in Trier, Germany in reaction to the crisis of faith and trust today utilizes newspapers as costume and Chen herself as the seeker on a journey. German dance critic Eva-Maria Reuther of Volksfreund said: “Using their body and visual language sensitively created fantasy and poetry. Tradition and experimentation are combined with precision and dynamics.”

Introspection is a new work where the choreographer, in response to the call for equity and justice, is looking at her company, her dancers and her own identity. As each dancer illuminates each other with lights of their own, the audience and dancers begin to see the same person from different perspectives.

Luminescence (premiere) was created in response to the choreographer’s increasing dependence on the power of nature to be physically and mentally resilient during the pandemic. The dance is her ode to nature’s grace, magic and wonder where she found sanctuary. Through this dance, Nai-Ni Chen wishes to remind us that humans coexist with other life forms on earth. To discover the beauty in nature and to respect and protect the environment is essential to our continued survival.

Shadow Force (premiere) is one of the darkest dances the choreographer has made as she witnessed the struggle of the country and its people to stay united under powerful forces from different sides. 

About Nai-Ni Chen 
Nai-Ni Chen has been making dances professionally for over thirty years since coming to the US. 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 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. 

Programs of the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company are 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 Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF), the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, The New Jersey Arts Recovery Fund, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Hyde and Watson Foundation, E.J. Grassman Trust, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, the Cultural Ministry of the People’s Republic of China, the Live Music for Dance Program of New Music USA, the Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, the Rapid Response Program of American Dance Abroad, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters’ Cultural Exchange Fund, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, PSEG, Proskauer, WAC Lighting, the Glow Foundation.

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