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Celebrate the Year of the Dragon with a Spectacular Lunar New Year Performance! Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company at Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture

February 18 @ 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

$5 – $12

Ring in the Year of the Dragon with Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company at Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture at Hostos Community College Main Theater at 450 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NYC – a spectacular experience for all ages, combining traditional Chinese celebration with modern flair. The Company dancers, acrobats and musicians will be performing in festive costumes in red, gold, blue and purple colors symbolizing their prayer for a peaceful and harmonious New Year with plenty of prosperity and good fortune for everyone to enjoy and share. Tickets start at $5 for students, $12 for regular-priced tickets, with discounts for seniors and groups of 10 or more. Tickets can be purchased online at www.hostoscenter.org, by calling 718-518-4455, or in person at the Hostos Box Office Window.

Immerse yourself in a festive production celebrating the biggest holiday in the world: the 2024 Lunar New Year of the Dragon. Firecrackers, cymbals and drums accompany the acrobatic dragon dancers and vibrant colors from the motions of the endless floating lines of fabric, costumes and props that are created by the agile dancers and warriors. Acclaimed pipa player and professor, Liang-xing Tang, will also be featured in the show, performing Three variations of the Plum Flower and Remembrance and Drinking Song. Tang has achieved the highest distinction of pipa player, Pipa Master, and is a recipient of National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Choreographer Nai-Ni Chen has been making dances that bridge the richness of Asian artistic heritage and the dynamism of American dance for the past 30 years. In this celebration of the Year of the Dragon, her Company will continue in her memory, celebrating the Asian American perspective that is shaped by both cultures, and to recognize Asian American contribution to the diversity of ideas in our society.

In 2022, Nai-Ni Chen was a 2022 Bessie Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. Nai-Ni Chen was a force in the dance community with her unique choreographic body of work that fuses Eastern cultural forms of Chinese dance and the Western world of modern dance. Her vision of the immigrant’s journey of crossing cultures and adapting to a new home provided endless inspirations and opportunities for creative expressions that enrich the human experience.

The program includes:

Lion in the City – A new collaborative work by Hip-Hop legend Rokafella and Kwikstep with Company’s Director of New and Contemporary Dance Peiju Chien-Pott. This new lion dance integrates Hip-Hop movement and beats with traditional Chinese Lion Dance. One of the most popular dances performed in the Lunar New Year Celebration. The Lion Dance is a prayer for peace on earth as a child is able to play with a ferocious beast in harmony. There are many styles of the Lion Dance in China, and for 2023, the Company celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Hip-Hop, memorializing the pioneering spirit of Nai-Ni Chen, who began working with Rokafella and Kwikstep in 2017, developing a dialog between her contemporary/Chinese movement style and hip-hop. This dance was originally commissioned by the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in 2023.

Mongolian Harvest (Premiere) – A new work commissioned by the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in 2024 for the year of the Dragon. The Mongolian people are one of the five major races that make up the Chinese people (Han, Mongolian, Manchurian, Muslim and Tibetan). Mongolian Dance movements originated from the nomadic life of the people. Hand, shoulder and leg movements express aspects of Mongol herders everyday lifestyle such as milking the cow, cooking, hunting, household labor, customs and traditions, etc. This dance expresses the joy of the Mongolian people as they celebrate the completion of their herding season. Their movements are proud and broad, showcasing their powerful tradition and as they pray for abundance and prosperity.

Moveable Figures – Inspired by the art of shadow puppetry, Nai-Ni Chen created this work not only to celebrate this unique form of art, but also to bring the audience to the new world of wonderment that she experienced when she first met the shadow puppets. Movable Figures is also an experiment on expression within the body shapes and motion. Nai-Ni Chen wishes to bring the two dimensional art alive on a three dimensional stage.

Peacock under the Moonlight – There are more than 55 ethnic groups living in China, and each group has unique dances and music. The peacock is considered a sacred bird among the Dai people in the Yunnan province. Because of the performers’ supreme grace and elegance as peacocks, this dance is one of the most beautiful from that province. Many of the movements in this piece derive from real actions of the peacock, such as drinking water, walking, running, and grooming its feathers. The solo musical instrument for this dance: hulusi was originally used primarily in Yunnan province by the Dai and other non-Han ethnic groups but is now played throughout China. Like the related free reed pipe called Bawu, the hulusi has a very pure, clarinet-like sound.

Way of Fire – An exploration of the ancient Chinese theory that the cycles of creation and destruction correspond to the ever-changing phenomena of nature. The “Five” refers to the five elements: wood, water, fire, metal, and earth. The cycles are also used to mark the passage of time. For instance, this year is the year of the Wood Dragon. Each element, as part of the forces of nature, creates another in harmony and destroys another in conflict. This exploration focuses on the element of “Fire,” which is used to extract metal and can be destroyed by water.

Mirage – Inspired by the unique rhythms and dance movement of the Uyghur people of Xinjiang, Ms. Chen created a new movement vocabulary for this dance. Its tranquility and passion evoke the images of the desert area and the people who lived in oasis towns. The music for this dance was commissioned by the American Music Center which has been renamed New Music/USA.

Raindrops – The choreographer draws inspiration from her childhood memory of the Taiwanese city in which she was born, Keelung, also known as the Rain Harbor.

Coinstick Dance – Originated with the Hans in Hubei province, Coinstick Dance is traditionally done by street performers. People drill holes in the sticks, which are made of bamboo, and fill the holes with coins. Dancers hit the sticks against their bodies and the ground to produce interesting rhythms as they move, and they often incorporate acrobatic skills. Today, this dance is usually performed in groups of men and women during festival celebrations.

Dragon Festival – The most spectacular folk dance performed in the Lunar New Year Celebration – the Dragon carries auspicious powers and nature’s grace. The Chinese Dragon is a spiritual and cultural symbol that represents prosperity and good luck, as well as a water deity that nurture harmony. It controls rainfall, river and ocean. Dragon favors pearl and usually chases after it. In this dance, the choreographer first creates a big festival with numerous colorful props and fanciful dance steps. The dragon descends from heaven, blesses the earth. Blue flags symbolize water to bless for enough rainfall for the coming year. And colorful ribbons are a prayer for the prosperity of the community. For those fortunate to see this dance in the Lunar New Year, their coming year will be filled with peace, harmony and good fortune.

About Liang-xing Tang

Professor Liang-xing Tang (Pipa Master) is Artistic Consultant of China National Traditional Orchestra. He also served as artistic consultant of Taipei Chinese Orchestra, professor of Chinese Musicology Department of Tainan University of the Arts and has received Taiwan Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award. Tang is also a recipient of National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts for his outstanding contribution to the diverse cultures in the United States. In addition to performing in Broadway’s M. Butterfly, Tang has held more than a thousand pipa recitals and lectures at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and Yale University, among others. He has worked with Music from China, NY Chinese Cultural Center, Chinese American Arts Council and the Chinese Music Ensemble of New York, to hold dozens of US tour performances and bring pipa to the US.

About Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture

Named “the powerful locus for Latino art” by the New York Times, the Hostos Center serves the cultural needs of South Bronx residents and neighboring communities. As a leader in Latinx and African-based programming, the Center creates performing and visual arts forums in which the diverse cultural heritages of its audiences are celebrated and nurtured. The Hostos Center consists of two state-of-the art theaters of 900 and 367 seats each, an experimental Black Box theater and a museum-grade art gallery. Hostos Center events are sponsored by the Hostos Community College Foundation with funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Howard Gilman Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Office of NYC Councilmember Rafael Salamanca, Jr. www.hostoscenter.org

About Hostos Community College

Hostos Community College is an educational agent for change that has been transforming and improving the quality of life in the South Bronx and neighboring communities for over half a century. Since 1968, Hostos has been a gateway to intellectual growth and socioeconomic mobility, as well as a point of departure for lifelong learning, success in professional careers, and transfer to advanced higher education programs.

Hostos offers 28 associate degree programs and one certificate program that facilitate secure transfer to The City University of New York’s (CUNY) four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions. A two-time Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence finalist, the College has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development that offers professional development courses and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. Hostos is part of CUNY, the nation’s leading urban public university, which serves more than 500,000 students at 25 colleges.

About Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company:

Choreographer/Dancer, Nai-Ni Chen (1959-2021), was a unique artist whose work crosses cultural boundaries. Each of her dances reflect her personal vision as an immigrant and an American female artist with deep roots in Asian culture. From this perspective, she created new works that reflect current issues with global influences. Many of her works were developed in collaboration with renowned artists such as the Ahn Trio, Glen Velez, Joan La Barbara, Rokafella, The Chinese Music Ensemble and the New Asia Chamber Music Society.

Bridging the grace of Asian elegance and American dynamism, the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company is a premier provider of innovative cultural experiences that reflect the inspiring hope and energy of the immigrant’s journey. The company’s ground-breaking works have focused on themes from ancient legends that reflect issues of the present time to purely abstract, contemporary dances influenced by a mix of cultures Nai-Ni Chen experienced in New York. An Asian American company that celebrates cross-cultural experience, the Company’s productions naturally bring forth issues of identity, authenticity, and equality.

The Company has presented at some of the most prestigious concert halls such as the Joyce Theater, Lincoln Center in New York, and the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center in Florida. The Company appears annually at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Queens College, the College of Staten Island and on Ellis Island. Internationally, the Company has presented at international festivals including Open Look Festival in Russia, the Silesian International Contemporary Dance Festival, the Konfrontations International Festival in Poland, the Chang Mu International Dance Festival in Korea, the Meet in Beijing International Arts Festival in China, and the Tamaulipas International Arts Festival in Mexico.

The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company has received more than 20 awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and numerous Citations of Excellence and grants from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Advancing Dance Education, the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company is currently in residence in New Jersey City University pioneering a program with the University’s A Harry Moore Laboratory School teaching dance to urban children with disabilities. For additional Company information, visit their website, www.nainichen.org; write to Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, P.O. Box 1121, Fort Lee, NJ 07024; or call (800) 650- 0246.

Programs of the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company are made possible by the generous support of our Board members, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, The Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF), the New Jersey Cultural Trust, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, The New Jersey Arts and Culture Recovery Fund administered by the Princeton Area Community Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Hyde and Watson Foundation, E.J. Grassman Trust, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, New Music USA, the Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Dance/NYC Dance Advancement Fund, the Rapid Response Program of American Dance Abroad, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters’ Cultural Exchange Fund, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, PSEG, Proskauer, WAC Lighting, and the Glow Foundation and the Dragon and Phoenix Foundation.


Details

Date:
February 18
Time:
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Cost:
$5 – $12

Venue

Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture
450 Grand Concourse
Bronx, 10451 United States
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