Dazzling dance at Flushing Town Hall

Dazzling dance at Flushing Town Hall
The Nai-Ni Chen Dance company returns to Flushing Town Hall for a third year this weekend.
Photo by Lichung Zhang
By Merle Exit

The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company returns to the Flushing Town Hall stage for its third year this weekend, and will be joined by two acclaimed guest dancers for a new show called Cross Current IV.

Choreographer Nai-Ni Chen, whose company will be performing her two pieces “Earth” and “Richter,” said she is looking forward to preforming in the space again.

“Cross Current IV will be a contemporary program that will reflect my heritage,” said Chen. “When I design a program I think about what type of audience, stage and theater I will get. The space at Flushing Town Hall is very intimate and cozy.”

The show also includes the work of choreographer Kun-Yang Lin, and dancer PeiJu Chien-Pott, both of whom, like Chen, are natives of Taiwan. The collaboration is through the Taipei Cultural Center of TECO.

Choreographer Kun-Yang Lin, the founding artistic director of Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers and co-founder of Chi Movement Arts Center in Philadelphia, brings his company to Flushing to perform his original work “Home.”

PeiJu Chien-Pott is an internationally celebrated principal dancer for the Martha Graham Dance Company who will perform the company’s most recent revival “Ekstasis Reimagined.”

“We are excited to see the stardom-like lineup of Nai-Ni, Kun-Yang and PeiJu, who are unquestionably among the leading forces of the modern dance field in New York and across the country,” says Ellen Kodadek, executive and artistic director of Flushing Town Hall. “We are especially delighted to witness this combination because it represents the quality and passion our immigrant artists can bring to our community.”

Nai-Ni Chen and Executive Director Andrew Chiang co-founded the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company in 1988. Chen came to New York from Taiwan more than 30 years ago to obtain her master’s degree, initially planning to return to her homeland to teach dance, but the local scene hooked her.

“I was so excited about the dancing in New York that I decided to stay rather than teach in Taiwan,” Chen said.

The company has since grown into a two-state performance and teaching enterprise, which tours nationwide and around the world.

“We started in New Jersey and established a branch in New York, and have been touring in 45 different states and 10 different countries,” Andrew said.

The company has 12 dancers from several different countries and a repertoire spanning modern dance, ballet, traditional Chinese dance and Peking Opera technique. Borrowing from many traditions, and mixing very different styles of music is the wellspring of much of Chen’s creative energy.

“As an artist you can get inspired,” Chen said.

Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company will perform Sunday at 1 p.m., and a panel discussion moderated by Susan Yu, director of Taipei Cultural Center, and Andrew Chiang, will follow the one-hour performance.

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