Saturday, May 21 2022

Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company announces a virtual celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year of the Black Water Tiger starting on New Year’s Eve, Monday, January 31, 2022 at 10 a.m. ET and on New Year’s Day, Tuesday, February 1 2022 at 10 p.m. ET. During this festive gathering, immerse your family in the sound of firecrackers, cymbals and drums that accompany the acrobatic lion dancers. A one-hour pre-recorded performance will be available online for the public to view. Be mesmerized by the vibrant colors and movement of endless floating lines of fabrics, costumes and accessories created by agile dancers and warriors. Enjoy the dazzling display of the dancing dragon. RSVP for the free virtual event to receive the link of the watch: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdLcGaucMUO4bpT2j_REJ77M6afFSFcbw2TmOAb_r03BAdHAQ/viewform.

To celebrate the Year of the Black Water Tiger, the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company hopes this event can help audiences become more aware of the unique qualities of the Asian American perspective, shaped by both cultures, and to recognize the Asian American contribution to the diversity of ideas in our society.

double lion dance

Choreography: Nai-Ni Chen

Music and costumes: Chinese folk

Lighting design: Susan Summers

Acrobat Collaborator: Yang Xiao Di

Dancers: company dancers

As one of the most popular dances performed during the Chinese New Year celebration, the lion dance is believed to have originated in the Tang Dynasty 3,000 years ago. The Emperor held a party where people dressed up in a hundred kinds of animal costumes, including the lion. Always performed at the beginning of the year, the Lion Dance is considered a prayer of peace. Throughout the dance, a child playfully leads a beast, symbolizing harmony on earth. In this dance, acrobatic skills, coordination and concentration are essential. There are many lion dance styles in China; it is the Nordic style.

Peacocks dance in the moonlight

Arranged by: Nai-Ni Chen and Min Zhou

Music: Dai minority folk music

Musicians: Hulusi Soloist: Katelyn Weng and Chinese Music Ensemble of New York

Lighting design: Susan Summers

Dancers: company dancers

There are over 55 ethnic groups living in China, and each group has unique dances and music. The peacock is considered a sacred bird among the Dai of Yunnan Province. Due to the supreme grace and elegance of the performers like peacocks, this dance is one of the finest in this province. Many of the movements in this piece derive from actual actions of the peacock, such as drinking water, walking, running, and grooming its feathers. The solo musical instrument – hulusi was originally used mainly in Yunnan province by the Dai and other non-Han ethnic groups, but is now played throughout China. Like the free-reed pipe called bawu, the hulusi has a very pure sound, similar to that of the clarinet.

chinese bamboo rap

Kuaiban

Performer: Xing Ye Ma

Bamboo Rap is an ancient spoken art form practiced in northern China. The performer speaks in rhythm and accompanies his words with a pair of two-handed bamboo claps. They tell historical stories of heroes, villains and important events that make up China’s colorful history. Sometimes they will include poems, tongue twisters and other spoken word techniques.

Bai Ethnic Coin Dance

Arranged by: Nai-Ni Chen

Music: Folk Tune of the Yunnan Bai Minority Group

Performed by the Melody of Dragon Music Ensemble.

Costumes: Chinese folk

Dancers: company dancers

Yunan Province in southwestern China is known for its richness in dance and music due to the 25 minority groups in this province alone. This dance originated from the Bai group of Yunan. Bai culture is strongly influenced by the Han group (the majority group in China). It has been said that Bai Group’s The Coin Stick Dance actually originated from the Central Chinese Han Group. This dance is usually performed in pairs of dancers and the stick is made of bamboo. The coins that fill the holes in the stick make interesting sounds as the dancers shake and hit the stick on their bodies and on the floor as they dance with it in celebration.

Acrobatics – Balance

The happy cook

Created and performed by Yang Xiao Di

Chinese performing arts have a long history. The variety show is known to exist as early as the Qin dynasty (221-207 BC) or possibly earlier. During the Qin and Han periods, variety shows Juedi (角抵) or Baixi (百戲) were popular with common people. The difficult balancing act shown here is incredibly difficult and requires perseverance and dedication to perform.

Mountain rain in the tea garden

Choreography: Nai-Ni Chen

Music: Taiwanese folk tune

Dancers: company dancers

Taiwan is well known for its tea culture and the beauty of tea plantations. The tea gardens in the high mountains cultivate the best tea in this region. The girls working in the tea plantation catch the moment of the spring rain to pick up their umbrellas and play happily in the rain.

chinese music

Ruan (moon guitar)

Drumbeat for the flying dragon

Musician: Yueqin Chen

The ruan (Chinese: 阮; pinyin: ruǎn) is a traditional Chinese plucked string instrument. It is a lute with a fretted neck, a circular body and four strings. Its four strings were once made of silk but since the 20th century they have been made of steel (flat wire for the bass strings). The modern ruan has 24 frets with 12 semitones on each string, which has greatly expanded its range from the previous 13 frets. The frets are commonly ivory or lately metal mounted on wood. Metal frets produce a brighter tone compared to ivory frets. It is sometimes called ruanqin, especially in Taiwan.

The Legend of the White Serpent

Flight of the Magic Grass – Extract from the Kunqu Opera

Choreography: Kunqu Opera

Music and costumes: traditional Chinese opera

Performers: Ying-Chan Li (The White Serpent), Yao-Zhong Zhang (The Faiyr Deer Guardian); Ji-Ling Li (The Guardian Fairy of the Crane)

Xu Xian, a young man who saved a small snake when he was a small child, met a beautiful woman one day and they were happily married. He did not know that the woman was the magical Lady White Serpent who decided to return to earthly life to help her savior from the past. Monk Fahai, angry at the delight of the magical being with mortals, warned Xu Xian that his wife is actually a snake monster who turned into a beautiful woman with evil intentions. During the Dragon Boat Festival, Xu Xian listened to Fahai’s words, persuaded his pregnant wife, Bai, to drink realgar liquor which broke Bai’s magic, and she appeared in her original snake form. White. Seeing her, Xu Xian became scared to death. Realizing that the only way to bring him back to life would be through the magic herb of Kunlun Mountain at the South Pole, Bai sets off on a quest. The excerpt starts here…

As she approached the grass, she encountered the guardians of the grass, and a great magical battle began. Being pregnant, Bai was unable to defeat the guards and faced death herself. The South Pole God had sympathy for Bai’s love and gave him the Herb to save Xu Xian.

JinHu (2-String Treble Violin)

Welcome the spring

Musician – Master Yan YiChuan and the Zenxhing Opera Society

Jing Hu, a special violin that serves as the main instrument of the Peking Opera Orchestra, not only delivers a unique and authoritative sound, but also conveys the emotion of an opera performance. Mr. Yichuan Yan, born in Shanghai, China, is widely regarded as one of the best Jing Hu players of his generation.

dragon dance

Choreographer: Nai-Ni Chen

Dancers: The Company

Music: Peng Xiuwen & Cai Huiq

As the most spectacular folk dance performed during the Chinese New Year celebration, the dragon dance depicts a mythical animal, which symbolizes imperial power and the grace of nature. For those lucky enough to see it during the Chinese New Year, prosperity and good fortune are assured for the coming year.

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