Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company to Celebrate The Year of the Golden Rat with Performance, Parade and More

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Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company to Celebrate The Year of the Golden Rat with Performance, Parade and More

Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company has announced a series of events for a colorful and vibrant special Chinese New Year Celebration at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), 1 Center Street, Newark, NJ 07102, on Saturday and Sunday, January 25, 26, 2020 beginning at 2pm.

On Saturday, Jan 25 at 2PM, the Company will open a public program with beautiful dances performed by the Company and special guests Lijun Zhou from the Beijing Dance Academy, a first prize winner of the Beijing Dance Competition. The program will also feature musicians from the Chinese Music Ensemble of New York performing on authentic Chinese instruments Pipa, Dizi, Ruan and Erhu. Before the program, NJPAC lobby will be transformed into a Bazaar of Chinese decorations and crafts including demonstration from the world renowned Papercut master Houtien Cheng.

On Sunday, Jan 26 at 2PM, the Company will perform the same program as Saturday but with two additional events after the presentation onstage. After the show at 4PM, the Company will honor the rise of Newark by bringing the audience to the streets of Newark with the Dragon Dance, an re-enactment of the legendary Newark Chinatown that once rivaled the Chinatown in New York City in the 1920s with a population of over 3000 and continued as a community until the 1950s. according to Newark historian Yoalnd Lessig's book "When Newark Had a Chinatown:, residents of the Newark Chinatown at that time had sizable celebration in the streets and city park during the Chinese New Year.

The Dragon procession will start at NJPAC, crossing the Military park and end at Express Newark around 4:15pm, where the audience is invited to join us on a Year of the Golden Rat Banquet: The Feast of the Dragon King. This year's banquet features a 10-course Chinese meal where there will be a program honoring accomplished Chinese and American leaders in the community, musical and performance by young artists as well as top professionals. Audience will meet the artists up close and be able to touch the dancing lion that will bring luck and prosperity to them all year round.

Tickets for the Banquet is $90, where $30 is tax-deductible. More information can be found on the Company website: Tickets can be ordered online at or by calling 800-650-0246. Please note: NJPAC does not havel banquet tickets.

NJPAC Performance Tickets are $35-27 and are available by phone at (888) GO-NJPAC or online at

The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company specializes in "a remarkably smooth blend of the new and the old, as well as a confident, intensely personal approach to nature," says The New York Times, which has described Chen's dancers as "endlessly proliferating forces of cosmic energy."

According to the Chinese calendar, family and friends should expect 12 months of joyful abundance in the Year of the Golden Rat. This lively performance to mark the beginning of the year will warm the hearts and delight the senses of audiences of all ages. Dancers with colorful, elaborate costumes, musicians playing ancient melodies and dazzling acrobats fill the stage. The playful Lions bring joy and good fortune. The majestic dragons fly out of the ocean and charm the Earth with a spell of peace and wealth. Exotic music and dance from various parts of the Chinese American immigrant community come together in a show of beauty and excitement. The festivities extend into the lobby, where an arts and crafts display showcases more of the culture and creativity of the Chinese-American community.

To celebrate the beginning of the Zodiac cycle, the Company will again feature immigrant artists from the Chinese Music Ensemble of New York who will bring festival and authentic Chinese instrumental music throughout the festival.

2020 is the Year of the Golden Rat, which is the beginning of the metal cycle of Zodiac animals. The Year of the Golden Rat is expected to be a festive year of great abundance and prosperity. To celebrate the Year of the Golden Rat, the Company has developed a rich and fantastic program that incorporates many positive aspects of Chinese American immigrant culture in the program. This year, Nai-Ni Chen will showcase new work using elements of the Chinese Hakka culture and the stories from the building of the Transcontinental Railroad.

The choreographer and the Company feels that in today's environment, the work of immigrant artist Nai-Ni Chen is especially important as she has been developing works that advocate for the culture of the community, fighting stereotypes and prejudice as an Asian woman artist who is leading a professional dance troupe in America.

Metropolitan area audiences have made this event an annual tradition. For this celebration, Nai-Ni Chen produced a program that introduces the beauty, creativity and diversity of Chinese-American arts in New York and New Jersey through high-quality performance and activities.

For this concert, the program begins with the playful and colorful Lion Dance, a classical favorite that brings joys to everyone.

The Hakka culture, one of China's most well-known groups of Han migrants who moved from the central plains to the coastal area and are early settlers in Taiwan. Later, the Hakka people also migrated to different parts of the world, forming a global network and a distinctive worldwide subculture. The Company will offer a beautiful Umbrella dance using characteristic of the Hakka design and a choreographed dance popular in Southern coastal China.

For this year, Nai-Ni Chen will celebrate the beginning of the Chinese American immigration to America. She will present a new dance, "A Ten-Mile Day" to commemorate the exceptional work of the Chinese Railroad workers who built 10 Miles of Railroad in one day during the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad.

In the celebration, Nai-Ni Chen will feature some of her most audience favorite dances including raindrops, a delightful dance for 4 women celebrating the joy of womanhood and the rain harbor she was born in. The program will also include Whirlwind, the dance conceived by Nai-Ni Chen observing the whirlwind on the Silk Road that made the desert dance with a powerful, dynamic spin that resonates with the beauty of the Uyghurs dance she experienced in Xingjiang.

A Chinese New Year Celebration would not be complete without a visit by the auspicious Dragon. The Company will be performing the Dragon Dance as a conclusion to this fantastic celebration.

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