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Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company to participate in 2023 Flushing Town Hall Dance Festival

Apr. 12, 2023 By Ethan Marshall

The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company is collaborating with Flushing Town Hall to participate in the tenth CrossCurrent Dance Festival May 12. Among the works that the company is expected to perform are “Ashes of a Dead Frog,” “Lullaby for my Favorite Insomniac,” “Introspection” and “Neptune’s Dialog.”

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Photo by Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company

This festival will allow for the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company and Flushing Town Hall to reflect upon those that took place in previous years and pay tribute to Nai-Ni Chen, the founder of the festival. Since the festival’s inception, it has featured many emerging choreographic talents from the Asian-American community.

Tickets for the event are available to the public for $20 each on the Flushing Town Hall’s website, Flushingtownhall.org. The show is set to begin at 7:30 p.m.

The company intends to celebrate its own history of cross-cultural collaboration in the upcoming festival with the preview of an upcoming new work, “Between.” Jacek Luminski, a pioneer of Polish Contemporary Dance, and PeiJu Chien-Pott, the company’s Director of New and Contemporary Dance, are responsible for developing it. They began working on it together in November 2022 and anticipate showing off this new dance routine in July at the Lublin Dance Festival in Poland, alongside several of Nai-Ni Chen’s iconic works.

Luminski is the founding artistic and executive director of the Silesian Dance Theatre in Bytom (Silesia), Poland’s premiere contemporary dance company and an institution dedicated to the development and promotion of dance both nationally and internationally.

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Photo by Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company

Ashes of a Dead Frog is inspired by a Japanese writer’s recollections of the first encounter that the Japanese had with White Europeans, describing the skin of the visitors as the skin of a dead frog. Luminski explores the power dynamics of different types of relationships in our contemporary society in this work.

Lullaby for my Favorite Insomniac is a signature duet resulting from a collaboration between Nai-Ni Chen and the Ahn Trio. This sweet, delicate work showcases Nai-Ni Chen’s mastery in the western contemporary dance form and the depth of the collaborator’s working relationship.

Introspection’s origins date back to 2016, when Nai-Ni Chen worked with Aljira Contemporary Arts in Newark, New Jersey on a project where the audience would enter the gallery at night in darkness and be given a flashlight. Improvised or choreographed movement in front of the paintings, sculptures or artworks would be done by performers there. This eventually inspired Introspection, which is a work about the many facets of identity, how we view and treat each other and how we construct our own identity based on other people’s view about us.

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Photo by Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company

Neptune’s Dialog was created in memory of Nai-Ni Chen’s early childhood memories in Keelung, Taiwan. The rain harbor is close to one of Taiwan’s most scenic beaches, YehLiu (Wild Willow) Beach/Park. The white sand beach is dotted with a unique geological feature in the form of the world’s only remaining mushroom (xun) stone landform. Through this work, she hopes to bring the audience to this magical place.

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YehLiu (Wild Willow) Beach/Park (photo by Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company)

Founded in 1988, the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company works to bring together the dynamic freedom of American modern dance with the elegant splendor of Asian art. The unique choreography is meant to transport audiences beyond cultural boundaries to the common ground between tradition and innovation, discipline and freedom and form and spirit.

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