ENSPIRE Contributor: Logan Floyd
The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company has started a new dance institute through Zoom. Called THE BRIDGE, the institute’s goal is to bring together dancers, choreographers, and directors around the world to learn from master teachers of color whose focus lies on the art of traditional and transformative dance. Recently, THE BRIDGE ran a dance instruction series featuring guest artists from all across the globe, who lead classes in dance forms native to their cultures.
Originally founded by Nai-Ni Chen and Andrew Chiang in 1988, the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company introduced Asian dance styles into the mainstream. Since its inception, it has grown to be a national and international touring company with 10 professional dancers performing year-round. Taking influence from Asian art and philosophy, the company will often use dances adopted from Eastern styles to explore global issues, such as environmental destruction, injustice, equity, and cross-cultural dynamics.
As the COVID-19 crisis continues, the company has taken advantage of a growing online audience to launch THE BRIDGE. With guest artists from all over the world now joining them, THE BRIDGE features not only Asian dance forms, but ones from African, Ukrainian, and even Native American tradition as well. Many guest artists also come from physically integrated (able/disable) dance communities, thus providing even greater diversity.