One of the activities I enjoy the most is traveling to this country's National Parks and those in the great Southwest desert provide me with great inspiration. In that landscape, which has extraordinary power over the human imagination and spirit, I see patterns and relationships. The desert has taught me about light, color, form, texture, and movement. I see its rhythms, its rise and fall, its tension and release, that are very much related to our own. Throughout this dance are movements that I created from images of the American desert—the endless horizon, the cactus, the rolling sand dunes, the gigantic rocks, the animals and the myths of the Native Americans who embraced this land. From time to time, subconsciously, images of the vast desert in Asia also came to my mind and inspired me. ---- Nai-Ni Chen
Integrating trance, rhythmic breathing and spiral motion, Whirlwind was inspired by Nai-Ni Chen's personal journey along the Silk Road. This is the second work of this series which reflects the nomadic life style of the Mongolian, the ancient mysteries of the old Asiatic cultures, and the traces of ancestors found in the caves of Dunhuang. Through this dance, the choreographer wishes to explore the spiritual richness of another place and time.
This is the first part of "Whirlwind". Whirlwind is a phenomenon in the desert caused by the air coming from the mountains to the desert plain in different directions. Some believe Whirlwind is the manifestation of the great breath, the divine energy of the universe. This dance Whirlwind takes inspiration from the choreographer’s journey on the Silk Road which begins in China and passes through Central Asia, connecting China to Europe, crossing many deserts and mountains. Today, you can see one of the largest wind farms in the world on the way. The Silk Road was the pathway not only connecting trade and merchandise but also cultures, art and religions of many different groups of people. Whirlwind is an exploration of movements based on trance, rhythmic breathing, sound and spiral motion that Nai-Ni experienced on her journey.
This dance represents Nai-Ni Chen’s exploration of the ancient Chinese theory that the cycles of creation and destruction correspond to the ever-changing phenomena of nature. The “Five” refers to the five elements: wood, fire, water, metal, and earth. Each element, as part of the forces of nature, creates another in harmony and destroys another in conflict. This exploration is focused on the element of Fire which creates metal and can be annihilated by water.