FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM MAY 14, 2020 • THE QUEENS COURIER 33
Photo courtesy of the Queens Dance Festival.
Queensboro Dance Festival 2020 goes virtual
BY TAMMY SCILEPPI
C’mon, join the fun and dance your
cares away with Queensboro Dance
Festival’s virtual tour!
Th e pandemic hasn’t stopped this popular
outdoor Dance Fest’s annual summer
programming, which kicks off May
16. A diverse line-up of spry dancers
sporting colorful costumes and showing
off their amazing dance moves and techniques,
will be entertaining online viewers
– indoors, for now – as part of an
exciting, globally-inspired virtual dance
tour across the ‘World’s Borough.’
Each week, you can dance along or
experience the non-stop motion from
your comfy couch, by tuning in on
Queensboro Dance Festival's (QDF)
Instagram account (@queensborodancefestival).
Visit each of their dance companies’
home neighborhoods, and, as an
added bonus, you can interact with each
company as well.
"A feeling of connection and creativity
is especially important during this time,"
said Karesia Batan, QDF’s director. "It was
important to us that we fi nd a way to still
serve our community, by staying engaged
with our Queens dancers and audiences.
Our 24 dance companies this year are
truly coming together to navigate our season
as a group."
Programming includes online performance
previews, live Q&A sessions with
the choreographers, live dance demos,
and live dance classes. As always, this
year’s festival features a mosaic of different
cultures and dance styles, including
Latin ballroom, tap, ballet, Cumbia,
West African, modern, Chinese, Indian,
hip-hop, Mexican, Bangladeshi, Arabic
belly dance, Flamenco, jazz, Greek, and
May 16 was the festival's original kickoff
date of outdoor performances scheduled
at Lou Lodati Park in Sunnyside,
with programming slated through
October 4, culminating with a weekend
at Queens Th eatre. With the uncertainty
of the pandemic’s eff ects on city safety,
QDF has planned an entirely virtual
season, though they’re prepared to
hopefully perform in-person for the public
again, sometime this year, according
to Batan. Audiences can follow @
queensborodancefestival on Instagram
for all updates and visit www.queensobrodancefestival.
com for more information.
Several 2020 QDF dance companies
weighed in in response to this question:
What is your dance piece about and how
have your plans for it changed due to
Nicole Kadar, choreographer, NK&D/a
movement company (Astoria):
My dancers are also feeling the down of
not rehearsing, taking class, or performing.
QDF gives my company a reason to
connect with one another and connect to
the Queens community, therefore keeping
Th e dance NK&D is performing in
the festival is called "scattered pieces."
Ironically, the essence of this piece is
something everyone can relate to especially
now. Th is is a dance theater piece
that explores the ideas of misplacement
and loss. When something goes missing
or someone is gone, how does it
aff ect us? Maybe the thing or person isn’t
gone, but it’s changed; how do we deal
with that? Do we grieve; do we try to fi x
it? Do some things just remain broken?
Routines/repeated practices can help one
move through the absence of something,
but does it actually allow one to heal?
Currently, our routines have dissipated or
signifi cantly changed. Is something still
Th ese ideas can be as simple as when
you lost your favorite childhood toy or
broke that knickknack and couldn’t glue
it back together right; or they can be
complex, such as COVID-19 or political
system. Perhaps something new emerges.
Th rough relationships with the people
in our community, we can fi nd comfort
and strength and move forward with
Chris Bell, choreographer, chrisbelldances
(Long Island City):
My piece is basically a music visualization,
but if it had a theme, I think it
would be longing and the feelings associated
with it in the leadup and resolution.
It is a solo that will be performed
by a rotating cast of 3 diff erent dancers
who all perform the same movements in
the same order with the same musicality.
It is amazing that with all of the specifi city
there are so many variations. It's been
cool to fi nd the details in the work to really
make the individuality shine. I think
that is something that this time is teaching
us: people want individuality, people
want autonomy, but people also want
connection. And by us working on the
same thing together and reaching diff erent
outcomes, I think it is a perfect metaphor
for life: We are all going on the same
road toward similar goals of personal
betterment, and the interesting thing to
watch is how we all get there.
Participating in the 2020 QDF is a great
honor. I'm excited to bring chrisbelldances
back for the fi rst time since the inaugural
year. QDF is something to look forward
to during these trying times. Being
able to work on something while in quarantine
really helps you maintain a sense
of purpose and encourages you to fi nd
ways to continue to grow, however diff erently,
in the direction of your goals.
Omar Edwards, Director, Exquisite
I am eager to become a temporary element
of the various Queens landscapes
and the impromptu collaborations that
may happen organically amongst the
“A•Tone•Meant” describes my intentions
to get viewers to understand that
Tap is an art of sound and communication
that can be used to create a dance,
but in itself is not a dance. Unfortunately,
COVID-19 will lessen the number of cast
members as well as the amount of people
the work will touch, I presume.
I admire the positive and forward think
of the festival directors and look forward
to the NYC re-opening and live performance