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Nai-Ni Chen to Premiere 'A Quest for Freedom' at NJPAC, March 24

by Michelle Tabnick
March 15, 2018
New Jersey Performing Arts Center
1 Center Street
Newark, NJ 07102
(888) 466-5722
Nai-Ni Chen to Premiere
"A Quest for Freedom" at NJPAC
Saturday, March 24, 2018 at 7:30PM
And at NextDance Festival in Philadelphia's Prince Theatre

In this 2018 Women's History Month of March, NJPAC will premiere Nai-Ni Chen's latest collaboration with the world renowned Ahn Trio in a new, groundbreaking dance production, "A Quest for Freedom". A program that highlights the hope and quest for freedom in every aspects of the artist's life and only highlighted by the current societal, national, international and historical debate around immigration. Following the NJPAC premiere, the new work will premiere at Philadelphia's NextDance Festival from Fri-Sun, April 20, 21, 22, 2018 at the Prince Theatre.
 
Originally inspired by Ahn Trio's adaptation of David Bowie's Space Oddity and the their performance of the Trio's version of Purple Rain by Prince on Ellis Island's Great Hall of Immigration, Nai-Ni Chen continued to work with the Trio throughout 2017 to find their common vision, exploring their common roots as Asian American immigrants, and as women artists developing innovative work in America.  Their collaboration is enhanced by the work of visual artist Jayathi Moorthy, who brings a contemporary, visual artist perspective to the project.
 
The new production will feature new music created especially for Nai-Ni Chen, Concrete Stream as well as Night Flight by Kenji Bunch, Insensatez by Astor Piazzola and popular music adaptations for classical instruments by David Bowie and Prince.  For each of these music, Nai-Ni Chen created new dances titled:  I want to Fly, Liberation, Lonely Man, A Forgotten Past, and My Flower Garden, each dance explores part of her journey as an immigrant woman artist who view freedom from different lances here in America.  Lighting Designer Yi-Chung Chen, Visual Designer Jayanthi Moorthy and Costume Designer Ann-Alisa Belous are all deeply involved in the making of the production.
 
About "A Quest for Freedom"

An empowering evening of music and dance, A Quest for Freedom is a music and dance collaboration between the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company and the world renowned Ahn Trio. The athletic physicality of seven exquisite dancers, mesmerizing choreography of Nai-Ni Chen combined with the virtuosity of the Ahn Trio are integrated seamlessly throughout the program.
 
In this production, the Ahn Trio performs their most popular and engaging music, including their sassy, classical version of Purple Rain by the Prince, Space Oddity by David Bowie, Night Flight by Kenji Bunch, among others. The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company also commissioned new music from composer Kenji Bunch. Concrete Stream with passages that allow dancers to interact with musicians.
 
About Concrete Stream

Composer's notes "Concrete Stream" usually refers to an artificial trickle of
water in a backyard garden- essentially an elaborate home improvement project. Perhaps a more poetic interpretation of the term could suggest the paradox between the organic and man-made; the struggle for the existence of fluidity and natural beauty in an urban, industrial context. This work explores these two conflicting concepts, by incorporating elements of "floating" melody, free from traditionally notated rhythms, juxtaposed with the insistent inflexibility of repetitive motives. -Kenji Bunch

About The Ahn Trio

Hailed as "exciting musicians" with virtuosity and flair, the three sisters of the Ahn Trio (Lucia on the piano, Angella on the violin and Maria on the cello) have embraced 21st century classical music while redefining the art of chamber music. Born in Seoul, Korea and educated at the Julliard School in New York City, the Ahn Trio brings a new energy and an ever evolving vision of music to the performance stage, whether it be Vienna's Musikverein, New York's Lincoln Center, Beijing's Concert Hall or The White House. In this innovative collaboration with Asian-American choreographer, Nai Ni Chen, the world-class dance company and trio are immersed in the visual element of the pieces, creating a mesmerizing blend of music and dance of sheer aural and visual beauty.
 
About the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company
Bringing the dynamic freedom of American modern dance together with the elegant splendor of Asian art, the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company is one of the most visible Asian American dance companies in America.  Ms. Chen's unique choreography transports audiences beyond cultural boundaries to the common ground between tradition and innovation, rising beyond form into the  spirit. 
 
One of the few Asian American professional dance companies with an extensive season of touring and performing around the world, Nai-Ni Chen has also developed Arts in Education residency programs in school districts to bring culture and arts into educational settings.  Its colorful and engaging programs and workshops have reached over one million young audience members in the NY/NJ area. The Company is currently in residence at New Jersey City University and has been a Principal Affiliate of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center since its inception.
The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company has the honor of having received more than fifteen awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and numerous Citations of Excellence and grants from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.  Other funders include the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation; the Hyde and Watson Foundation; Horizon Foundation, The Irving and Laurie Blanchard Foundation; the E.J. Grassman Trust; PSE&G; the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council; Verizon; Sony; New Music/USA; Chase Manhattan Bank; the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation and others. 
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