Image credits: Phyllis Bretholtz; Annielly Camargo.

Fernadina Chan

2022-2023 Boston Dancemakers Resident
2017-2018 Choreographer in Residence

Artist Statement

Fernadina Chan was the founding artistic dean and chair of the dance department of Boston Arts Academy (BAA). She has taught at English High School and at the State University of New York in Binghamton. After retiring from Boston Public Schools, Ms. Chan founded Continuum Dance Project as a laboratory for choreography with BAA alumni in 2013. She was awarded the 2017 Boston Center for the Arts Choreographer Residency. In 2022, Fernadina Chan along with her collaborator Adriane Brayton were selected as Mass Cultural Council Choreography Fellowship Finalists and awarded the Somerville Arts Council AiR Residency at ArtAssembled. In 2020, Chan and Brayton received The Boston Foundation LAB grant and created the full-length work “Crossing: Stories of Immigration.”

Fernadina Chan received her B.A. in Physics from Southern Illinois University; M.A. in Dance from the University of Illinois; and M.Ed. from Harvard Graduate School of Education as a Conant Fellow. She is a certified GYROKINESIS® and GYROTONIC® teacher. Ms. Chan has received numerous awards: most notably “Distinguished Arts Educator in Dance” from Massachusetts Alliance for Arts Education in 1999; Teacher of the Year from the International Network of Schools for the Advancement of Arts Education in 2005; Boston Educator of the Year in 2011, and 2013 Dance Champion from Boston Dance Alliance. She was also awarded a Surdna Arts Teacher Fellowship in 2001 and a Fund for Teachers grant in 2012. As an artist, Ms. Chan’s performance and choreographic credits include television, film and stage in Hong Kong, the US, and Canada. She founded and directed the East/West Dance Theater from 1977-1988. Mandala Folk Dance Ensemble and the MJT Dance Company have performed her works. Her significant works include the commission of Vision for New England College of Optometry, and Jia Zi created during her BAA Artist Teacher fellowship, which focused on experimentation with technology. Collaborating with composer Lisa Bielawa and Adriane Brayton, her project “Collective Melodies in Fragments” for BAA’s 2012 Benefit Gala blended virtual and live performance at the Boston Center for the Arts Cyclorama.

Fernadina Chan works deeply with her collaborator and co-director Adriane Brayton. Both Chan and Brayton are the co-choreographers/co-directors of Continuum Dance Project (CDP).

Project Description

Continuum Dance Project (CDP), in a new evening-length work will explore the multi-layered connection with Michael Alfano’s interactive sculpture “Cubed.” “Cubed” is built like a jigsaw puzzle, consisting of nine moveable pieces. Each piece is pigmented with a different skintone, representing individual diversity within a united community. Fitted together they form a four foot by four foot face, depicting a male image on one side and an inverted female on the other.

This new cross-disciplinary dance will challenge audiences to consider the nuances of race and the label of gender; while empowering them to interact with, touch, and take ownership of the work. This project will feature four diverse female dancers, with family backgrounds from The Dominican Republic, Haiti, South Korea, The U.S. Virgin Islands, and United States. Along with female choreographers Adriane Brayton and Fernadina Chan, this creative team will explore race and gender from a female perspective, contrasting and harmonizing with the sculptor’s intention.