Looking for a spot to celebrate the Chinese (aka Lunar) New Year? For 2015, the year of the sheep, Brooklyn again has a large range of options, from dance performances to parades, to choose from.
Getting an early start on the festivities (Lunar New Year falls this year on February 19), on Sunday, January 25, at 3 p.m., the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company will host its second annual Lunar New Year Celebration presented by the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at the Walt Whitman Theater at Brooklyn College.
Nai-Ni Chen, choreographer and recipient of China’s Golden Lotus Award, plans to mix classical and modern dancing in the diverse, 100-minute show that is focused on the Chinese tradition.
“We have prepared a program that’s a celebration that includes dances,” she said. “We will do the famous lion and dragon dances, which represent prayers for peace and good fortune for New Year, but we will also do performances other than folk dances from different areas in China. It will also have more modern choreography and dances along with strong Chinese aesthetics.” Historical accounts will also serve as inspiration.
The dance company isn’t a stranger to performing globally. It’s been around for 25 years and has hosted events in South America, Eastern Europe, Germany, Russia, China and more.
Props will play an integral role in the show. “The dance has an emphasis on colors,” said Chen. “The set and props will provide very vibrant color. The right costume is a visual feast, to me.”
If this year’s iteration is anything like last year’s, it’s bound to be another success. “The audiences enjoyed it very much last year,” Chen said. “I was talking to them in lobby afterwards and they said that they really loved it. I found the Brooklyn audience very warm and they show you they really respond to it. They’re not reserved and it’s a lot of fun to play in front that kind of group.”
In addition to the fun audiences will experience, Chen also believes the performance will hold a more significant meaning. “The way the world is right now, there is so much conflict that, in a way, this celebration is a prayer for peace, prosperity and a better future in the community,” she explained. “It’s important not to forget we have to celebrate life and put conflict aside.”
The dancers and performers have been working tirelessly to put on a top-notch production. According to Chen, everyone has rehearsed five hours daily all week. “Everyone is working hard and is very excited,” she said. “The company is very diverse and includes all races and cultural backgrounds. The audience will love it.”
To purchase tickets ($25 for adults, $12.50 for children 12 and under) visit www.brooklyncenter.org.
If you can’t attend the show, there are other ways to ring in the Lunar New Year. Currently slated for Sunday, February 22, the Brooklyn Chinese American Association will host its annual parade. The celebration, which begins at Eighth Avenue and 50th Street, will feature performances by children, a firecracker show and more.
The Chinese-American Planning Council is also hosting its own celebration at P.S. 310, 942 62nd Street on Saturday, February 21. The festivities run from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. This family-oriented event will also feature lion dance performances, martial arts, games, and writing and costume contests for the kids. For more information, visit www.cpc-nyc.org.