Dance artist

Dance on the Lawn mourns the death of dance artist Nai-Ni Chen

Nai-Ni Chen, founder of the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, died in a swimming accident on December 12. Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company members Rio Kikuchi, Thibaut Witzleb, Candace Jarvis, Evan Matthew Stewart and Greta Campo performed an excerpt from “Shadow Force,” choreographed by Chen, at Dance on the Lawn at the church St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Montclair on September 11. (KATE ALBRIGHT/FOR LOCAL MONTCLAIR)

Dance on the lawn, The Montclair Free Outdoor Dance Festival said in an announcement this week that it mourned the loss of New Jersey dance artist Nai-Ni Chen.

Chen, the founder, choreographer and artistic director of the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, died in a swimming accident while vacationing with her family in Hawaii on December 12, the group said.

Chen was a panelist and mentor for Dance on the Lawn’s “Emerging Commissioned NJ Choreographer” program, and she was supposed to be on the DOTL stage in 2020, but moved on to the virtual DOTL festival created that year in response to the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19. . Dance company Nai-Ni Chen performed at DOTL in September, when the festival resumed live performances. DOTL was also proud to share the stage with the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company in 2016 for the new program, Dance Newark!, the group said.

“We at DOTL have been blessed to have been colleagues with Nai-Ni in dance,” said DOTL Founder and Artistic Director Charmaine Warren and DOTL Executive Director Laura Marchese in the announcement. “She always said, ‘I’m happy to help.’ We are so honored to have shared so many precious moments. Our deepest condolences go out to Andy, the dancers, board members, many students and other family members of Nai-Ni, and everyone who mourns this tragic loss to our dance community. .

KEEPING LOCAL JOURNALISM ALIVE: is free, but it takes continued financial support from a community that believes local journalism is important to make it possible, along with our weekly print newspaper. Your supporting contribution of $10 per month (or more) makes you a member and gives you access to our print edition. Visit for more details and to become a member today.