Thursday Night in Newark: ‘Shadow Dance’ at Aljira

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Choreographer Nai-Ni Chen and her award-winning dance company presented Shadow Dance: Alone but not Alone last night at Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art in Newark. The performance commerated the gallery's 30-year anniversary, and her dance company's 25th.

The company performed the work, which explores the relationship people have with themselves in solitude, througout the gallery space. "Personally, I'm always very interested in site-specific work," said Chen just before the performance. "I've found it very rewarding when I'm put in a very spatial situation. The creativity just comes, it really opens up your mind."

Chen said her dance company did a lot of improvisation to explore the central themes of the dance and develop the piece. "It's based on the idea of being alone," Chen explained. "And from that state of mind, I expore the possibility of you and your shadow, and of going deep into yourself to expore your state of mind." The piece is comprised of nine segments, each exploring a distinct idea about a person's relationship with oneself. That relationship was sometimes embodied by dancers interfacing with each other, and other times by dancers working with literal shadows on the walls of the gallery.

The dancers performed the nine segments all throughout the gallery, starting in the back, and gradually working their way up to the front, within sight of Broad Street. A guide lead the audience to various sites throught the gallery's interior to view the performances.

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