WHERE: To register to attend the virtual memorial on Saturday, January 8 at 7:30pm ET, visit nainichen.org.
WHERE: The in-person memorial will be held at Ng Fook Funeral Home, 36 Mulberry Street, in Chinatown NYC on January 9 from 2pm-6pm. Due to the pandemic, attendance is by invitation or request only. To request in-person attendance, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
All who wish to attend and celebrate Nai-Ni Chen’s life and legacy are welcome.
To send flowers, please contact Brighten Florist, 24 Mulberry Street, New York City, (212) 619-1188. Tell them it is for Nai-Ni Chen's Sunday afternoon service at Ng Fook.
“The members of the Board of the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company are devastated by the loss of our dear friend Nai-Ni Chen. Her innovative work as a choreographer and dancer is deeply rooted in her Asian-American immigrant experience and strongly impacted the mainstream American dance scene. Our hearts go out to her family, and we are committed to preserving her legacy,” said Board Chair Theresa A. Shubeck.
In addition to domestic touring, her 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.
Besides creating dances for her own Company, she has choreographed the opera Turandot for several productions and was commissioned to create work for New Jersey Ballet, Dancing Wheels Company, and Ballet Met in Ohio. She has taught master classes at colleges and universities throughout the United States and at dance festivals in Russia, Poland, Germany, Taiwan, China, and Mongolia. She was invited to set her work on students in professional schools and colleges including the Ailey School in New York, Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, and Long Island University in New York. Her other teaching credit also include Mary Anthony Dance Studio, Peridance, Rutgers University, New York University, and New Jersey City University. She has been a principal affiliate artist of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center since its inception. On television, Ms. Chen is an often-featured artist on PBS/NJN’s “State of the Arts.” With her dedication to dance education for children K-12, she received Distinguish Artist to the Field Award from Association of Teaching Artists and Lincoln Center Education in 2020.
The mission of the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company is the creation and production of world class dance performances, training, and educational opportunities that advance its founder’s vision, whose innovative work as a choreographer and dancer is deeply rooted in the Chinese American immigrant experience, their struggle for social and environmental justice, and fight for race and gender equality.
“As an immigrant artist, my early work was focused on presenting my treasured roots, my Asian training, and my culture to the American audience and have input into the mainstream dance scene. Too often, with the divisions in our country, people overlook the importance of Asian culture being part of the evolution of American culture,” said Nai-Ni Chen in November 2020, about the mission statement. “My vision is for audiences to see it, recognize it and appreciate it. Whether I am creating contemporary work or preserving traditional work, these are all part of getting people to be aware of our existence, to promote the interest of understanding the uniqueness of it, and to recognize its contribution to this society. In doing this, my vision has emerged to explore global issues and bring recognition and credit to all immigrant cultures.”