The sixth annual CrossCurrent Choreographic Festival is a celebration of the vibrancy and diversity of the Asian-American dance scene in the New York Metropolitan area. Produced by Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, the festival will be livestreamed this year on two consecutive days — June 26 and July 3 — from 7 to 8:15 p.m. on both nights at Flushing Town Hall.
The festival — featuring six new works by up-and-coming Asian artists — will increase the visibility of Asian and Asian-American dance, foster cross-cultural dialog and provide a more equitable context to discuss dance and its role in the New York City dance communities.
The June 26 session features artists Rourou Ye and Yuki Ishiguro.
Ye is a dance artist born and raised in China who trained rigorously in Chinese dance in a conservatory setting for over 10 years since the age of 12. She completed her studies in contemporary American and European dance and theater practices in her early 20s.
Ye’s “The Absent Umbra” explores dancing with objects and shadows during a time of self-quarantine. It was created for the livestream and screen-viewing experience only, a first for Ye, who is from China.
In her early years, Ye performed at Shanghai International Dance Festival, Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Beijing Dance Festival, and China Dance Forward (Hong Kong). Five years ago, she left a top Chinese conservatory to try her luck in the United States. Since then, she’s worked at Austin Dance Festival, Bronx Academy of Art and Dance, Dixon Place and The Field.
Ishiguro is a Japanese native and artistic director of dance company Yu.S.Artistry.
Ishiguro’s “The Inner Light” examines the human experience. In his native Japan, he did everything from ballet to breakdancing. In 2009, he moved to New York to study contemporary dance, and in 2018, he founded Yu.S.Artistry. Since then, his work has been presented at Jazz at Lincoln Center, DUMBO dance festival, and the MAD festival at Nazareth College.
Meanwhile, the July 3 show spotlights artists Barkha Patel, Chien-Ying Wang, Paul Ocampo, and Peter Cheng.
Patel is an Indian classical Kathak dancer, choreographer and educator. As a preservationist of kathak dance, Patel believes in sharing stories through abinaya, deep facial expressions and nritta, traditional and innovative movements.
Patel will offer “Aravani (or Transgender),” which follows a woman rejoicing the annulment of a section of the Indian Constitution that deemed “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” illegal. As she sings a prayer to Bahuchara, a Hindu goddess central to the transgender community, she recalls her family’s ostracism and her early search for a sense of belonging in society.
Wang and Ocampo will unite for “Equanimity,” an investigation of marriage, friendship, partnership and how humans create beauty amid disagreement and misfortune.
Both Wang and Ocampo teach at Rutgers University. Ocampo is an artistic director of OcampoWang Dance and has choreographed and performed with Ballet Philippines and Singapore Dance Theatre for 17 years.
Wang is co-artistic director of OcampoWang Dance. She received her MFA from Ohio State University and danced professionally with Utah’s Repertory Dance Theatre and was a Bogliasco Fellowship finalist.
Lastly, Cheng, a Taiwanese-American from San Francisco, is the artistic director of PETER & Co., which has been presented at ODC Theater, Center Stage Theater, 92Y/Harkness Dance Center, Judson Memorial Church, and Arts on Site.
Cheng will present “Draft No. 31,” which unpacks a series of disparate, unrelated, and inconsequential ideas and catalyzes them into an ever changing framework of movement bounded by muscularity, articulation and decay.