Ring in the [Lunar] New Year at Flushing Town Hall

By Merle Exit

The weather outside may be frightful, but the lineup at Flushing Town Hall remains delightful.

From musical events to a show from a former Cirque du Soleil performer to the annual celebration of the Lunar New Year, Flushing Town Hall packs a lot into the next couple of months.

Things kick off this weekend with the preview of a new Japanese-style opera, “Beloved Prey,” on Jan. 18, at 2 p.m.

Written by Cris Ryan and Kento Iwasaki, the piece tells the story of a lioness that adopts a baby antelope and the young animal’s mother’s attempt to rescue her child.

Along with the opera preview, Sunday’s bill includes Iwasaki and Ryan’s “Moon Princess Cycle,” performed by a soprano-piano duo. This musical creation was inspired by the Japanese folk tale “Kaguya Hime.”

Tickets are free.

Things really get shaken up Jan. 24, when international juggling champion Greg Kennedy brings his act to Flushing.

“As a child I was juggling the common balls, clubs, rings and later, boxes,” Kennedy said. “After going to engineering school, I applied my knowledge of engineering concepts, as well as geometry and physics to create some newer juggling. One part, which you will see in the show, is my being in a plastic cone, juggling off the sides as the balls spin around.”

Kennedy, who just finished a five-year run touring with Cirque du Soleil, will perform “Spherus,” a nonverbal piece in which he is accompanied by two aerial acrobats. The show includes many of Kennedy’s structural shape creations, along with trapeze moves and spinning hoops.

“We have invited some schools the day before when we will be conducting a class,” Kennedy said. “In addition, there will be an interactive workshop at 1 p.m. on Saturday for children ages 6 and up with a focus on kinetics.”

Another event geared toward the younger set takes place Jan. 31 with a free workshop titled “Mysterious Lake.”

Using the idea that inanimate objects have souls and spring to life when the rest of us are sleeping, “Mysterious Lake” gives voice to these “living” objects. The workshop is divided into two sessions — one for ages 3 – 7, the other for ages 8 -15 — and will utilize things attendees bring from home.

The day finishes off with a short play created by the group about the discarded objects.

February starts with another program aimed at the children, but one many adults may want to take in as well, “The Man Who Planted Trees,” a multi-sensory performance with puppets.

Adapted from Jean Giono’s environmental classic, “The Man Who Planted Trees,” recounts the story of a shepherd, who, along with his faithful dog, plants a forest one acorn at a time.

The show is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 8, at 2:15 p.m., and tickets are $6 – $13.

Prior to the show, members of the Puppet State Theatre Company of Scotland will lead a workshop on making your puppets come to life with movement and voice. Materials will be provided at this event geared toward children ages 5 and up. The workshop starts at 1 p.m. and is free for members who have tickets to the 2:15 p.m. show. Non-member prices ranges from $4 – $7.

Don’t let the date keep you from the Composers Collective Winter concert happening Friday, Feb. 13, at 8 p.m.

This free event includes a performance by viola duo Folie Á Deux, better known as Nora Krohn and Nick Revel.

The following evening join singer Antoinette Montague and help spread the love at “The Red Ball: World Peace in the Key of Jazz!” Feb. 14, at 8 p.m.

Mixing jazz, blues and Latin, Montague channels Duke Ellington, Stevie Wonder, Louis Armstrong and more, she urges Red Ball audience members to wear a splash of red to help show the need for world peace.

Tickets are $10 – $22.

And although the Chinese New Year — the Year of the Ram — does not officially begin until Feb. 19, don’t be sheepish about attending Flushing Town Hall’s first Lunar New Year Bazaar Feb. 14, running from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

“We typically celebrate for about one month, bringing in an exhibition, art-making workshops and varied performances for the public, schoolchildren and families to honor the Lunar New Year,” said Ellen Kodadek, executive and artistic director. “This year for the first time we are presenting a traditional Chinese temple bazaar with performances, workshops, vendors and food.”

Kodadek plans on providing crafts people with space to demonstrate traditional Chinese arts such as paper cutting, lantern making, knotting and more.

Then once the ball drops on the actual Lunar New Year, Town Hall has scheduled plenty of activities with an Asian flair.

On Feb. 22, at 2 p.m., attend a free Lunar New Year Dance Sampler, featuring performances of native dances from China, Korea, Taiwan and India. There will also be demonstrations of dances from Mexico and the United States.

The EastRiver Ensemble, comprised of musicians playing the dulcimer, lute, flute, fiddle and percussion, performs traditional and folk music from the Dongbei and Hebei regions of north China.

Scheduled for Feb. 28, at 2:15 p.m., the performance’s tickets are $6 – $13.

Visitors can also drop into the gallery to view the exhibition “Dynamic Writing: A Century of Calligraphy.”

Works by master calligraphers Chao-Lin Ting and Yoo Sung Lee will be on display through March 22 and show the harmony between Chinese Hsu-Fa and Korean Hangeul scripts.

“This year, we are very pleased to present a number of programs that are cross-cultural, celebrating both Chinese and Korean art forms, together on stage and in our galleries, so that people can enjoy seeing the beauty and artistry of both cultures,” said Kodadek.

More from Around New York