December 6, 2021

Bread Centrale

Life is art

How this N.J. dance troupe transformed pandemic fears into joyful performance

4 min read

With the New York Town skyline as its backdrop, Nai-Ni Chen Dance Corporation closes Weehawken’s Summer season Concert events on the Hudson collection this Friday.

The totally free event at the Hudson Riverfront Carrying out Arts Centre tackles a heavy topic: the pandemic. Not to fear, nevertheless, it will not be a depressing evening.

“Shadow Force” is a 25-minute dance showcasing 6 dancers reacting “differently to the predicament of being isolated and individuals thoughts acquired translated into movement,” Chen tells NJ Progress Media. “I sense there are unfamiliar forces that we confronted appropriate now — division isolation and insecurity.”

Dancers performing alongside one another “envision that adore and connection will enable us and move us out of the shadow with the struggles,” she adds.

Undertaking for the duration of sunset really should increase a exclusive touch to the clearly show that – weather conditions allowing – commences at 7 p.m.

“You will see the gentle modify with the sunset as track record consistently moving completely into the dark and only see the mild on dancers on phase,” Chen claims. “Visually, it will be lovely and dramatic.”

The 90-minute efficiency, which characteristics Chen’s signature methods of standard Chinese dance blended with contemporary dance, consists of other quantities evoking diverse moods, including pleasure.

“I will open up with a dance identified as ‘Raindrops,’ a very wonderful feminine quartet,” Chen claims. “I like the night to have one thing enjoyable and sweet. I do not want just agony. I want to display light and hope.”

New Jersey’s Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company performs free concerts this weekend

A dancer performs ‘Raindrops.’

“Raindrops” was brought on from reminiscences of Chen’s childhood in northern Taiwan, where it rains regularly. She describes this dance as sweet and playful and qualified prospects into “Shadow Drive.” The evening concludes with “Emissary of Light,” a solo.

Chen will not be doing. At 61, she describes herself as semi-retired but proceeds to educate and choreograph. Like so many dancers, Chen initial walked into a dance class at 4 several years previous.

She studied common Chinese dance and later western forms, which includes modern. By 18, Chen was touring, and at 22, emigrated from Taiwan following earning a BFA in dance from Taiwan Chinese Tradition University.

At NYU, she attained a master’s in dance education and learning. Decades in the past, she and her partner decided to make New Jersey their property.

“I need to have to have a personalized area,” Chen points out. “Across the river, I utilized to listen to sirens all the time. As an artist, I have to have space. I want to listen to birds. I crossed to New Jersey, and I can see birds, trees. We have deer in the yard. And as an artist, I could believe, I could develop.”

New Jersey’s Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company performs free concerts this weekend

Nai-Ni Chen, dancer, choreographer, and trainer, has extensive built her residence in New Jersey.

The enterprise is in residence at New Jersey Town University in Jersey City. In the course of the pandemic, Chen has been doing the job with dancers over Zoom.

While the efficiency in Weehawken marks the period end of the Summer time Live shows on the Hudson, Nai-Ni Dance Chen Dance Organization is also accomplishing in Montclair Saturday at Dance on the Garden Competition.

She’s delighted to carry out the cost-free concert events.

“Dance is still not as common as audio, videos, and athletics,” Chen acknowledges. “Sports is amount one in this nation. For me, as a dance individual, I would really like to have the whole, overall earth to delight in dance. I am a messenger. I want to maintain carrying out and representing my work to the whole earth. If absolutely free, it is obtainable to all persons. It is not elite anymore.”

When she has visited the Hudson River Carrying out Arts Center, Chen liked looking at people “watching the exhibits and acquiring a family members collecting. That neighborhood is really numerous, and you see all kinds of individuals, and all get alongside one another for this. And, what can be far more highly effective to carry the spouse and children and all arts jointly?”

After the earlier yr and a fifty percent, which noticed the horrific spike in despise crimes in opposition to Asians, Chen notes that she arrived to The usa simply because it traditionally embraced immigrants. In her 40 years in the United States, she experienced never witnessed this kind of divisiveness. By presenting dance, she hopes to foster cultural being familiar with.

“In a general performance, you see how diverse counties occur jointly, and it can cross cultural boundaries, and when it is attractive, people overlook about the big difference,” Chen states. “They never glimpse at me, ‘Oh, you are Asian.’ Dance is universal, and when you convey that as a human, it does not subject wherever you are from.”

“Shadow Drive,” executed by Nai-Ni Chen Dance Business

Friday at 7 p.m.

Hudson Riverfront Carrying out Arts Heart, 1200 Harbor Blvd, Weehawken

No cost admission, convey a chair or blanket

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Jacqueline Cutler may possibly be reached at [email protected]. Uncover NJ.com on Facebook.

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