When: Saturday, May 22, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. EST
Where: NJPAC is located at 1 Center Street, Newark, New Jersey; a short walk from the Newark Penn Station stop by Newark-bound PATH Train or Amtrak. (unless otherwise noted)
Tickets: $17 and Up. To purchase, contact NJPAC at 1.888.GO.NJPAC/1.888.466.5722
or visit NJPAC.org/jazz.
The critically acclaimed Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company presents Celebrating the Legacy of Nai-Ni Chen and the Year of the Water Tiger at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in a family-friendly matinee celebration on Saturday, May 21, 2022. Paying tribute to the incredible dancer, choreographer, and educator Nai-Ni Chen, this marks the Company’s return to NJPAC after Chen’s untimely passing in December 2021. Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company has been a beloved presence at NJPAC since it first opened its doors in 1997. In addition to vibrant dance commemorating the Year of the Water Tiger, NJPAC will also welcome the innovative classical music group, the Ahn Trio. (Program details are below.)
The afternoon begins with demonstrations and fun activities staged in the lobby before the performance. Year of the Water Tiger celebration combines the elegance of traditional Asian art and the beauty of American modern dance with thrilling choreography, exotic music and dazzling acrobats. Audiences get close to the exciting sights of dancing lions and dragons, the lilting sound of Chinese pipa and erhu, and vibrant gold and red costumes and props.
On stage, the first part of the program starts with one of the most popular dances performed in the Chinese New Year Double Lions Welcome Spring and the most colorful Chinese traditional dances in the repertory, Festival and Dragon Dance. Sandwiched between is one of Na-Ni Chen’s most iconic dances, Raindrops, which takes the audience to the choreographer’s childhood. To express the Company’s hope for the next generation, Company Director Ying Shi brings Green Lotus by eight junior dancers from her academy.
In the second half of the program, the dancers of Nai-Ni Chen pay tribute to the grace and power of Nai-Ni Chen’s work by performing her signature work, Incense. Making its NJPAC debut is the chamber music ensemble, Ahn Trio. Hailed by The Los Angeles Times as “exacting and exciting musicians,” the three sisters (pianist Lucia, violinist Angella, and cellist Maria) have earned a distinguished reputation for embracing 21st century classical music with their unique style and innovative collaborations. The Ahn Trio is a longtime collaborator of Nai-Ni Chen and they will play Ave Maria by Bach; Concrete Stream with music composed by Kenji Bunch, their first collaboration with Nai-Ni Chen, and Skylife, one of their signature works.
The program ends with UNITY, one of Nai-Ni Chen’s final work, completed by PeiJu Chien-Pott, the Company’s current Director of New and Creative Dance who worked with composer Jason Kao Hwang to finalize the powerful work that is Nai-Ni Chen’s urgent call to the world.