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Musicians, dancers pair up for 'Muses' collaboration

on April 20, 2013 10:59 AM

The Lively Arts at Indiana University of Pennsylvania will present the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, in collaboration with the Ahn Trio string ensemble, for the dance collaboration “Temptation of the Muses” at 8 p.m. Thursday in the Fisher Auditorium as part of the Ovations! series.

“Temptation of the Muses” features dancers sliding through piano notes, mimicking cello movements and playing a kind of hand ballet with sparkling water. The entire evening is a mesmerizing blend of dance and music, all of which was composed or commissioned by the Ahn Trio.

The evening brings together Nai-Ni Chen, one of the most accomplished modern choreographers with the Ahn Trio, three sisters earning a distinguished reputation for embracing the music of living composers since their graduation from the Julliard School.

A blossom of color, energy and motion — “like endlessly proliferating forces of cosmic energy,” according to the New York Times — the dances of Nai-Ni Chen fuse the dynamic freedom of American modern dance with the grace and splendor of Asian art.

The company’s productions take the audience beyond cultural boundaries to where tradition meets innovation and freedom arises from discipline.

Chen’s dramatic work has gained increasing recognition among prestigious domestic and international presenters including the Joyce Theater in New York, the Ordway Center in Minnesota and the Cerritos Center in California.

In addition, the company has mounted 20 national tours and seven tours abroad.

The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company also has the unique honor of having received more than 12 awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and numerous citations of excellence and grants from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, where their company is based.

Winning critical acclaim worldwide, the company has been presented at more than 200 art centers and universities in the United States and at international festivals in Mexico, Germany, Poland, Russia, Lithuania, South Korea and China, where, Chen received the prized Golden Lotus Award in 2002.

The Ahn Trio has been hailed as “exacting and exciting musicians” by the Los Angeles Times. The three sisters — Lucia on the piano, Angella on the violin, and Maria on the cello — have earned a distinguished reputation for embracing 21st century classical music with their unique style and innovative collaborations. The Ahn sisters were born in Seoul, South Korea.

Reflecting the two cultures in which they grew up, the trio brings a new energy and excitement to the chamber music world.

Such luminary composers as Michael Nyman, Maurice Jarre, Pat Metheny, Paul Schoenfield, Mark O’Connor, Kenji Bunch, Nikolai Kapustin and Paul Chihara have written works for them.

The trio’s latest CD, “Lullaby for My Favorite Insomniac,” released by Sony, is a showcase of their fearless creativity, which rose to No. 8 on the Billboard Charts for 26 weeks in the classical album category. In more than 10 years of touring, the trio has performed in all 50 states and in more than 30 countries, and has recorded six albums.

Tickets for Thursday’s event are available in advance at the Hadley Union Building ticket office on the IUP campus or online at IUPTickets.com.

Tickets remaining can be purchased at the door starting one hour prior to the performance. Tickets are $23 regular admission, $18 for seniors and groups, and $12 for students and children.

For more information, call the Lively Arts Office at (724)-357-2787 or the HUB ticket office at (724)-357-1313.

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