Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company Celebrates the Year of the Horse
On Saturday, January 25, the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company brought a program full of cultural richness with dance, music, and visual art to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
Nai-Ni Chen, Choreographer and Artistic Director of the dance company, selected performances and artwork that reflect the way the tradition of the Chinese New Year is celebrated in her homeland. To complete this dazzling presentation, Nai-Ni collaborated with several visual artists, singers, and musicians to bring a wide array of cultural experiences to the audience.
This lunar year, the Year of the Horse is an auspicious year because the horse is believed to help people advance great distances to reach their goals and destinations. The audience was introduced to several pieces showing the importance of the horse in Chinese culture. The Chinese Music Ensemble of New York performed musical selections including “On Horseback in Early Spring” and will accompany the dancers in a special Dai Minority Dance, "Peacocks Under the Moonlight."
Yong-Hong Jia, a Chinese opera diva and a member of the Beijing Kun Opera Company, and Yao Zhong Zhang, a member of the Shanghai Kunqu Company, performed an excerpt from "The Exodus of Princess Zhao Jun." This told the story of a Han Princess, who is being married to the Mongolian Tribes in order to avoid confrontation and war. Her journey goes through the difficult western land leading to the Silk Road.
The program also showcased the visual works of Asian American artists, featuring Jayanthi Moorthy, Caroline Sun and Gao Jing. Slides of their works were projected on the backdrop before the show and during the intermission. The curator for this visual art show was Lance Fung of New York’s Lance Fung Gallery.
The audience was also treated to the traditional good luck pieces the "Double Lion Welcoming Spring" and the "Dragon Festival” with its winding dragon puppet. These animals rise as symbols of prosperity on the occasion of the Lunar New year.
Nai-Ni also presented the New Jersey premiere of "Whirlwind II," a contemporary dance which reflects her own journey on the Silk Road across northwestern China.in 2010. The piece also featured the art work of Jayanthi Moorthy.
Prior to the performance, a group of Jersey Arts Members was treated to an exclusive pre-show reception. The Member Party featured light Chinese fare, and members of Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company discussed Chinese culture as it relates to dance movement and taught a basic ribbon dancing workshop.
Check out the photos from this intimate experience, and make sure you don’t miss Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company’s stunning spectacle next year!