From State of the Arts:

Choreographer and dancer Nai-Ni Chen died in a swimming accident on Sunday, while on vacation in Hawaii. The producers of State of the Arts grieve her tragic loss with her family, company members, friends, colleagues, and the many, many people touched by her artistry over the years. Nai-Ni was an exceptional choreographer, able to express herself in work that was both deeply thoughtful and always beautiful.

The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company has appeared on State of the Arts at least seven times, including earlier this year. In Seven Choreographers, a State of the Arts special, Nai-Ni talks about the pandemic and her first return to the stage in early 2021. The show features excerpts from Nai-Ni’s premieres of Shadow Force, a reflection on isolation and the need for connection, and Luminescence, a meditation on environmentalism and the beauty of nature. Both were part of Awakening, the company’s full-length virtual production at the South Orange Performing Art Center.

In an interview with dance critic Robert Johnson for SOPAC’s virtual program, Nai-Ni Chen described her gratitude for the chance to present her work during the difficult time of the pandemic. She goes on to say, “I think work and passion, believing what we’re doing, really keeps us going, right?”

Thank you Nai-Ni.