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Queensboro Dance Festival Comes to MacDonald Park Saturday

Photo: Vissi Dance Theater

May 30, 2019 Staff Report

Forest Hills is getting its groove on.

Vissi Dance Theater, which offers choreography that mixes Caribbean and urban styles, will be putting on a free performance this Saturday, at 1 p.m. at MacDonald Park,

The group’s production will be followed by Masala Bhangra, which combines time-honored moves from the northern Indian state of Punjab with catchy beats and a Bollywood-inspired exuberance.

Both troupes appear as part of the Queensboro Dance Festival (QDF), which is currently in the middle of offering 26 shows in libraries, parks, plazas, schools, and theaters in 14 neighborhoods. In total, this sixth annual extravaganza will present 33 companies doing everything from hip-hop to tap with countless ethnic influences.

Masala Bhangra

Launched in 2014, QDF strives to unite dancers, entertain, and increase local appreciation for the art form. For example, many events include audience engagement activities such as talkbacks with performers.

It’s also a labor of love for Karesia Batan, a dancer and choreographer who organizes it all.

The event continues to grow, she said, as more artists across the borough participate in the annual event.

“It is so inspiring to see more and more dance groups emerge to join the festival,” Batan said. “Often they are not new companies, but they are new to our program, and it’s like discovering another gem … and learning about another corner of our borough.”

After the MacDonald Park show, QDF’s next show is at the Queens Pride Parade in Jackson Heights on Sunday, June 2. Masala Bhangra is set to take the main stage in the vicinity of 74th Street and Broadway at 2:30 p.m. Other groups to perform include the Fanike! African Dance Troupe, the Jazz-loving Gotham Dance Theater, and the Kingdom Dance Company, whose shows are based on hip-hop and tutting.

Then, QDF has two more performances in June. First up is at Beach 17th Street and Seagirt Avenue in Far Rockaway on Saturday, June 8, at 6 p.m. At this event there will be performances by the Amy Marshall Dance Company, Dugal Dance Projects, The Greek American Folklore Society, Mala’s Odissi, Uravshie Kissoon, and Vissi.

Then on June 21, in Sunnyside, there will be the Lou Lodati Park Summer Solstice Celebration at 5 p.m. taking place on Skillman Avenue and 41st Street.

The following stop is under the 7 train in Sunnyside’s Bliss Plaza (40th Street) on Thursday, July 11, at 5 pm. This time Marshall, Gotham, and Kingdom share the limelight with Cole Collective, Flamenco Latino, Karla Florez, NK&D/a movement company, Noora Dance Theater, and Spaces of Fontana.

The QDF’s 2019 schedule ends in October. Check the event website for updates about which troupes are scheduled for each performance. Unless otherwise indicated, the events are free.

  • July 18, Windmuller Park Wellness Day, 39th Drive and 52nd Street, Woodside, 5 p.m.
  • July 20, Lost Battalion Hall Courtyard, 93-29 Queens Blvd., Rego Park, 2 p.m.
  • July 27, Juniper Valley Park, 80th Street and Juniper Boulevard North, Middle Village, 2 p.m.
  • Aug. 1, Athens Square Latin Night, 30th Street and 30th Avenue, Astoria, 7 p.m.
  • Aug. 10, Forest Park George Seuffert Sr. Bandshell, Forest Park Drive, Woodhaven, 2 p.m.
  • Aug. 15, Bliss Plaza, Sunnyside, 5 p.m.
  • Aug. 17, Queens Public Library Flushing, 41-17 Main St., 2 p.m.
  • Aug. 19, Queens Public Library Central, 89-11 Merrick Blvd., Jamaica, 6 p.m.
  • Sept. 5, Hunters Point South Park, LIC, 6 pm, (Rain date: Sept. 12);
  • Sept. 6, Hunters Point South Park, LIC, 6 pm, (Rain date: Sept. 13);
  • Sept. 14, Unisphere Fountain, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, 2 pm;
  • Sept 20, Studio M Ballroom Studio, 36-51 Main St., Flushing (ticketed show);
  • Sept. 21, Diversity Plaza Diversity Day, 37th Road between 74th Street and Broadway, Jackson Heights, 1 pm to 5 pm (Rain date: Sept. 22);
  • Sept. 26, Athens Square Latin Night, 30th Street and 30th Avenue, Astoria, 7.p.m.
  • Sept. 28, Corona Plaza, Roosevelt Avenue and National Street, 2 p.m.
  • Oct. 5, Queens Theatre, 14 United Nations Ave. S., 8 p.m. (ticketed show)
  • Oct. 6, Queens Theatre, ticketed show, tickets go on sale in September, 4 p.m.

QDF will also facilitate free dance classes with the following schedule.

  • June 9: Ballroom with RU Dance NY at 10 a.m. and Modern with Marshall at 11:30 a.m.
  • July 14: Modern with guest company Jon Lehrer Dance at 10 am and Greek with the Greek American Folklore Society at 11:30 a.m.
  • Aug, 4: African taught by Fanike! at 10 a.m. and a class with Flamenco Latino at 11:30 a.m.
  • Aug. 18: Hip-hop with Kingdom at 1 p.m.
  • Aug. 25: Indian taught by Urvashie Kissoon at 1 p.m.

The QDF 2019 participants are listed alphabetically with their home neighborhoods here. A&Y Duo (Elmhurst), Amy Marshall Dance Company (East Elmhurst), Ayazamana Dance Group (LIC), Barbara Mahler’s Dances (Jackson Heights), Cole Collective (Astoria), Dugal Dance Projects (Woodside), Fanike! African Dance Troupe (Springfield Gardens), Flamenco Latino (Jackson Heights), Funsch Dance (Astoria), Greek American Folklore Society (Astoria), Gotham Dance Theater (Sunnyside), Karla Florez (Middle Village), Kinding Sindaw Heritage Foundation (Jackson Heights), MAE MAE Dance Studio (Flushing), Mala’s Odissi (Forest Hills), Marie Lloyd Paspe (LIC), Masala Bhangra (Forest Hills), NK&D/a movement company (Astoria), Noora Dance Theater (Astoria), Rastro Dance Company (LIC), RU Dance NY Ballroom Dance School (Flushing), Sector Dance (Astoria), Shauna Sorensen & Dancers (Woodside), Sheep Meadow Dance Theatre (LIC), Spaces of Fontana (Astoria), SUNPROJECT (Astoria), #Taplife Company (Howard Beach), The Kingdom Dance Company (Rosedale), The Physical Plant (LIC), The Rogue Dancers (Briarwood), Urvashie Kissoon (Forest Hills), Vissi Dance Theater (Jamaica), and Yamini Kalluri & Dwayne Beach (Jackson Heights).

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