The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company announces a very special event: a free master class in Contemporary Polish Dance for Professional Dancers taught by master dancer/choreographer Jacek Luminski on Tuesday, November 8, 2022, 11am at Gibney Dance Center, Studio 8, 890 Broadway, NYC.
A pioneer in contemporary dance whose work has influenced generations of European choreographers, Dr. Luminski has developed his unique voice from the Silesia region of Poland through his investigation into the roots of Polish and Jewish dance traditions in his native region. This residency is supported by Adam Mickiewicz Institute in Poland.
Luminski’s training offer is based on exploration of principles and craft of a variety of virtues that make his concept of bodily movement function in a theatrical idiom. In the process of mastering physical movement in direct association with the thinking process. Luminski deploys a set of principles embedded in Peripetea (theatrical concept). Peripetea is a starting point for extensive exploration which connects the students with the virtues of negation, opposition, equivalence, thinking the thought, twin logics, omission, dilation, fragmentation and reconstruction, concatenation and simultaneity.
For Luminski, technique is not limited to bodily movement. It is a concept that reflects the nature of thought; activity of the human brain; it may go into exploration of voice, mentality, and psychological traits. It is very much like acting – both acting and moving are integral parts of technique. The dancers are becoming transmitters of the ideas – it is transparent in their performance. They also transmit “secrets”, which is their personal knowledge, personal experiences, point of views and philosophy. These secrets are like packets of particles or seeds which if well cultivated may flourish; they may become potential nutrients for spiritual lives of a community.
Luminski has developed a unique dance technique that has evolved through his twenty years of research on Polish folklore and folk traditions of Polish Jews. His work may reflect, for example, a certain sense of space, unique to communities of Podhale that is related to their traditional feeling of freedom and independence drawing the complex rhythms of their music and the power of open-throat singing. By the same token, an analysis of Jewish songs, legends, superstitions, customs, rituals, and dance forms – the importance of the palm of the hand, pelvis, chest, and spine – have also deeply influenced Luminski’s style and technique. The dancers float in space, connecting internal and external worlds, and going beyond them with the use of technical skills enriched with psychophysical tools and mental power reflecting the Hasidic tradition of dance as a conversation with God.
Luminski’s concept of dance, with its forward-looking innovation rooted in folk traditions, has earned him an international reputation. In 1995 New York Times critic Anna Kisselgoff wrote: “A distinct signature emerges from Mr. Luminski’s approach to both form and content. The dancers tear into space with ferocious power and whiplash speed, qualities that spring from kinetic force in the choreographer’s idiom. His works are intense, obsessive in their picture of abstract emotions.” From Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1996, Adrienne Sichel wrote in The Star: “Luminski and his Silesian Dance Theatre are major role models. His demanding technique and sweeping choreographies are distillations of Polish and Jewish folklore elements. A physical breadth of movement is fused with an intrinsically musical fluidity and searing spirituality. On the surface, Luminski’s dances and eight dancers are smoothly sophisticated but, as he unveils the soul, capillaries of distress, of disquiet, sporadically surface.” Miriam Seidel wrote in Philadelphia Inquirer in 2001: “This is a work with sweep and heart that confirms Luminski’s engagement with the rich, involving theatrical language.”
Nai-Ni Chen and Jacek Luminski
Nai-Ni Chen met Jacek Luminski in 2005 when Luminski invited Nai-Ni to the Silesian International Dance Festival, they soon became mutual admirers, and Luminski had brought Nai-Ni Chen back to Poland three times since then, and Nai-Ni Chen invited Jacek to create a new dance, Ashes of a Dead Frog for the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company which premiered in the Anna Maria Ciccone Theater of Bergen Community College in New Jersey and at New York City Center in 2008. During this visit in November, Jacek will also work with the Artistic Director Greta Campo to revive Ashes of a Dead Frog for the Company’s 2023-24 season in New Jersey and New York. The new work, to be developed with PeiJu Chien-Pott, will be part of a cross-cultural collaborative program that will tour Europe in the coming season. A work-in-progress showcase is planned at City Center on Friday November 11 at 4PM. For attendance, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
About Jacek Luminski
Jacek Luminski is the founding artistic and executive director of the Silesian Dance Theatre in Bytom (Silesia), the premiere contemporary dance company of Poland and an institution dedicated to the development and promotion of dance nationally and internationally. He designed educational and community outreach programs to promote dance and audience development. Supported by the EU, the Silesian Dance Theater cooperated with six European dance schools under Luminski’s guidance, developing the country’s first accredited university dance curriculum. Luminski has received numerous awards for his outstanding achievements in developing a unique style, technique and form of dance theater. He serves as Professor and the Head of the Dance Division at the Academy of Music in Katowice and he holds professorship at the Beijing Dance Academy in China as well. For more than a decade now Luminski has been a main figure behind the institutionalized creative support for young and independent choreographers in Poland – an idea seen in the Art Spaces-Katowice Program recently established with support from the Institute of Music and Dance (as well as Ministry of Culture and National Heritage). Currently he is working on international dance projects “Roots of Dance” established by the National Institute of Music and Dance. He is pursuing his new academic career with the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice. His main areas of research interest include, persistent systems of identity formation, embodied culture, contemporary transformations of citizenship, etc. Jacek is a graduate of pedagogy department of dance at the Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw, a PhD from Academy of Theatre Arts in Krakow, and studied anthropology of dance towards another PhD at Indiana University under Anya Peterson Royce.
About the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company
Bringing the dynamic freedom of American modern dance together with the elegant splendor of Asian art, the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company is one of the most visible Asian American dance companies in America. Ms. Chen’s unique choreography transports audiences beyond cultural boundaries to the common ground between tradition and innovation, discipline and freedom, and form and spirit.
Since its inception in 1988, the company has earned a broad base of public support and has toured extensively to major performing arts centers throughout more than thirty states. Presented by some of the most prestigious concert halls in the United States, from the Joyce Theater in New York to the Ordway Center in Minnesota and the Cerritos Center in California, the Company has mounted more than twenty national tours and nine tours abroad. Ms. Chen’s work has been presented by such acclaimed international festivals as the Fall for Dance at New York City Center, Silesian International Contemporary Dance Festival and the Konfrontations International Dance Festival, both in Poland, the Chang Mu International Arts Festival in Korea and the Meet in Beijing International Arts Festival. The Company was also honored by a distinctive grant award from both the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities and the Department of State to represent the United States in a seven-city tour arranged by the Tamaulipas International Arts Festival in Mexico. Also, the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company has the unique honor of having received more than fifteen awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and numerous Citations of Excellence and grants from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
In addition to its extensive season of touring and performing, the company has developed Arts in Education residency programs in school districts to bring culture and arts into educational settings. It’s colorful and engaging in-school assembly program “The Art of Chinese Dance” has been presented in hundreds of schools in NJ, NY, CT and PA, reaching hundreds of thousands of youth. The Company is currently in-residence at New Jersey City University and assisting
NJCU in the development of a new BFA in Dance.
For additional Company information, visit our website, www.nainichen.org;
write to Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, P.O. Box 1121, Fort Lee, NJ 07024; or call