When Queens residents arrive at Meadow Lake for the 20th Annual International Dragon Boat Festival, the roar of dragons and competitors won’t be the only sounds they’ll hear.
The festival will feature an eclectic collection of dancers, musicians, martial artists and other entertainers – every hour on the hour – as the participants race for dragon boat immortality.
Two of those entertainers, Gabriela Granados and Dana Leong, bring vastly different styles to the shores of Meadow Lake.
“Queens Council of the Arts recommended we play this festival and that has a certain amount of weight to it,” said Granados, who runs American Bolero Dance Company in Long Island City. “It’s tremendous exposure for Spanish dance and for the school.”
Granados, whose team of dancers will perform on Sunday, August 8, said that the festival is an opportunity for Queens to show that it is a borough wilt a lot to offer the art community.
“Just because it’s in Manhattan, that doesn’t make art any better,” said Granados. “Events like these are a great way to change that thought.”
Dana Leong, who some have called the “hi-def Yo Yo Ma,” brings his genre-bending and pioneering fusion of electronic jazz to the Queens masses.
“My shows are very high energy and upbeat,” said Leong. “We’re in the leadoff spot on Sunday and I plan to really give it to the crowd. We’re going to rock them.”
Leong is looking forward to experiencing the Dragon Boat tradition for the very first time and believes that his brand of music will make for a great racing soundtrack.
“This is music for a situation. It’s not traditional music that you would hear in a concert hall,” he said. “But it’s going to be a great way for everyone there to expand their horizons.”