June 2, 2022 By Alexandra Adelina Nita
The annual Queensboro Dance Festival tour will begin this Saturday—featuring Queens-based dance companies of diverse cultures and styles.
The festival will consist of more than 30 free outdoor performances and classes across the borough, as well as pop-up events that will be announced throughout the summer on the festival’s Instagram account.
“We’re honored to be such an active part of the Queens arts landscape,” said the festival’s founder and Executive Director Karesia Batan, who is also a Sunnyside resident. “By working with so many local artists and cultural organizations, we truly feel the sense of community here. We feel the support and are thrilled to keep raising the visibility of Queens artists, especially dancers.”
Batan, a dancer herself, created her dance group-turned-production company The Physical Plant in 2010 before she established the festival in 2014. Her goal was to give Queens dancers and choreographers an accessible space to learn from each other.
The festival has won multiple awards, including being named the Best in Arts & Humanities with the Long Island City Game Changer award in 2019. Assemblymember Catherine Nolan presented the award.
There will be a kick-off party on June 4 in the form of a meet-and-greet with the 125 dancers participating in the festival. It will be followed by the festival’s first preview performances at Queens Night Market by Hawaiian group Na Pua Mai Ka Lani Nuioka and FANIKE! African Dance Troupe in partnership with Queens Rising at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
The second round of preview performances will be given by Chih & Yoyo, Gotham Dance Theater and Kofago Dance Ensemble on June 6th on the Queens Pride stage at 2 p.m. The stage will be in Jackson Heights between 37th Road and 75th Street.
After the weekend of previews, the festival will travel to Windmuller Park in Woodside to give 6 p.m. performances on June 11 and 12. These performances will mark the beginning of its full-length summer shows as it tours fourteen different Queens neighborhoods.
The festival will feature twenty-six Queens-based dance companies that encompass a variety of styles and cultures, all of whom will be present at its finale at Queens Theatre on Oct 2.