For each immigrant artist, the struggle to cross the cultural barrier presents great challenge and opportunity. Each person finds a way to adapt and improvise on their own, creating imprint of movement, language and thought patterns along the way. After the barrier is crossed, a new identity emerges. The new multimedia work explores this common experience for Nai-Ni Chen and Huang Ruo, with input from the musicians from the New Asia Chamber Music Society.
This new 15 minute dance for 7 dancers and 4 musicians (Erhu, Piano and Strings) will be developed in New York and New Jersey in 15 months between March, 2014 and May 2015. From March to June, Nai-Ni Chen will have a series of meetings with composer Huang Ruo to discuss how musicians and dancers can be integrated seamlessly in performance through sound, stage, choreography, set and lighting design. They may involve 1 or 2 instruments in improvisational settings. In the summer of 2014, Nai-Ni Chen and her dancers will develop the movement and sound vocabulary with Huang Ruo to use for the production. This process will lay the foundation for our collaboration as well as formulating activities, topics for community outreach workshops and curricullum for educational residencies. Between October 2014 and May, 2015, in the midst of the development phase, the team will conduct at least one open rehearsal each month to engage the press, dance enthusiasts, fans, board members and friends in discussion about the new work. Each open rehearsal will be in a location that reflects some aspect of the relationship between different elements of the production. e.g. we may use an Art gallery in Newark to showcase the visual design of the work and how the dancers work with live music. In public presenting spaces with stronger technical support, we will conduct lecture demonstration of the music composition process against the dramatic line of the dance as well as the movement design. In each workshop, the audience will experience a different glimpse of the creative process that can serve as an anchor for their enjoyment when then finally see the performance on stage in their neighborhood.
In addition to the public open rehearsals that will happen in evenings and weekends, the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company will work with the creative team to develop educational materials for the Company’s residencies for schools in Newark and Elizabeth where the Company has on-going residencies and engagement with at-risk youth.
The premiere concert will feature the proposed new work, another new dance using an existing composition from Huang Ruo, accompanied live by members of the New Asia Chamber Music Society, as well as music only selections by the musicians.