Culture Shock!


      The Na-Ni Chen Dance Company put on a one-of-a-kind performance Jan. 30 at the Carver Community Cultural Center.
      Dancers combined contemporary dance with a mix of Asian art and martial arts. They used grace, flexibility and sheer talent to tell a story through each song. Only the beat of the music and sounds of their props filled the auditorium, which allowed the audience to focus entirely on the dancing.
    The two different performances – one in the afternoon and another in the evening – giving a glance into a different part of Chinese history.
    The afternoon show was called The Year of the Tiger, focused on the traditions of the Chinese New Year. It was a shorter performance aimed more toward the children.
    The late show was called The Song of The Phoenix, and it took you on a rollercoaster of colors and sounds through nature. A phoenix is known as an “awe-inspiring creature of death-defying strength and majesty” and that was clearly displayed as each song had an entire different experience to give.
    There was a solo done by Na-Ni Chen, the choreographer of the show, that blew the entire audience away. She had sleeves that were far longer and larger than her arms that illustrated water, and as she danced she moved these sleeves so perfectly that it actually looked like waves. 
Another song called “The way of Five-Fire” incorporated the traditional Chinese fan. They all opened and closed them in perfect sync that created a loud pop adding to the dramatic scene. There were fighting scenes and love scenes all with this simple but powerful prop, that kept everyone’s attention.
    While it was an exciting show, the viewer had to love dance and know about the Chinese culture to really understand what was going on. The wordless music sometimes dragged on and didn’t allow a real interpretation. It was frustrating to try to understand what they were trying to say, but the playbill was always there for guidance.
     Na-Ni Chen Dance Company was a challenge to understand but still a joy to watch. This was a great example of what the Carver Community Cultural Center has to offer. There’s always a new way to see different cultures.  If you’re interested in a show coming soon go to