HomeBad Ass AsiansChen Dance Center Founder Dies at 74

Chen Dance Center Founder Dies at 74

H.T. Chen, a renowned choreographer and the founder of Chen Dance Center, has passed away. He was 74.

His wife Dian Dong told The New York Times that he died on June 12 in Manhattan after a battle with lung cancer.

According to an obituary posted on Legacy.com, Chen was born in Shanghai, China and raised in Taipei, Taiwan with his five siblings. In 1971, he moved to the United States.

Before arriving in New York City, Chen studied Chinese classical dance. He also studied the use of acrobatics and martial arts in Chinese opera The New York Times reports. He went on to study Western dance at Julliard School, graduating in 1976.

After graduation, Chen formed H.T. Chen & Dancers, a dance group that performed in New York City and traveled throughout the United States.

Chen met his wife, Dian, at Julliard after Martha Hill, the director of the Juilliard Dance Division, insisted that she be his translator. Together the town created the Chen Dance Center in Chinatown, NY. According to Legacy.com, the center housed a dance company, theater space and dance school: H.T. Chen & Dancers, Arts Gate Center and Mulberry St. Theater, respectively.

His work touched hundreds across the country. Several people have already begun to share memories of him on Legacy.com.

“HT became a family member many years ago when we met through my brother, Renouard, who both danced with and serves on the board of Chen Dance Center,” Rogene Gee and Ken Calvert wrote on the website.

“We became even closer when we brought his dance productions and dancers to Houston to share their beautiful expression of history and culture through his choreography and dance.”

“He will be missed by so many all over this country and world. His talent and dedication to not only dance and art but also history and culture, will never be forgotten.”

Chen is survived by his wife, two daughters, three siblings, as well as numerous nieces and nephews, friends and family.

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