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Queens Theatre to host Latin Culture and Dance Fiesta

Queens Theatre
Grupo Rebolú, a New York-based, Afro-Colombian band that makes contemporary Colombian Caribbean coast dance music, will perform at Queens Theatre’s Latin Culture and Dance Fiesta. (Photo courtesy of Queens Theatre)

Queens Theatre is inviting everyone in the community to its first-ever three-day Latin Culture and Dance Fiesta on Friday, April 8, through Sunday, April 10. 

The event features performances by some of New York City’s most renowned Latin presenters: Los Pleneros de la 21, Grupo Rebolu, Tango in America, Maduritas, Macrobioticas y Multiorgasmicas and a family-friendly performance of The Selfish Giant/El Gigante Egoísta in both English and Spanish.

Queens Theatre’s Willy Mosquera, who is producing the Latin Culture and Dance Fiesta, said this month’s celebration will be fun for people of all ages. 

“There is something for everyone to enjoy,” Mosquera said. “Comedy, a play, tango music and dance, Afro-Colombian music, and Puerto Rican music and dance.”

In 1997, Queens Theatre organized a Latino Cultural Festival inviting the Spanish community to come out and enjoy Flushing Meadows Corona Park and the theatre, according to Mosquera.

“We wanted them to know that this facility is also for them. It lasted 17 years, and at one point we stopped the festival, but we didn’t stop booking Latin events,” Mosquera said. 

As the arts and entertainment sector had shifted to online programming amid the COVID-19 pandemic during the last two years, Mosquera said they’re excited to have patrons return to the venue. 

This year, Mosquera says, they wanted to curate a mini-festival to be held on the weekend. Queens Theatre’s Executive Director Taryn Sacramone came up with the idea to host a Latin Culture and Dance Fiesta. 

“She said, ‘What do you think about that?’ and I said, ‘It’s an excellent idea,’” Mosquera said. “There’s so much culture and talent in New York City, and it’s great to be able to do this and have all these performers at Queens Theatre. That’s why we call it the Latin Cultural and Dance Festival.” 

Here’s a lineup of the performances:

Tango in America, Friday, April 8, 8 p.m. on Queens Theatre’s main stage

Tango in America features an orchestra, dancers and singers performing traditional tango, including a medley of Latin American iconic songs. The show then shifts to present several North American hits, with songs by George Gershwin, Michael Jackson (Billie Jean), Lalo Schilfrin (Mission Impossible), Chick Corea (Spain) and Gloria Gaynor (I Will Survive).

Grupo Rebolu, Saturday April 9, 8 p.m. on Queens Theatre’s main stage

With some of the finest Colombian musicians in the United States, Grupo Rebolu — with founders Ronald Polo, Morris Cañate and Johanna Castaneda — join their talents to lead an ensemble rich of musical traditions of their ancestors, the afro-descendants of Colombia’s Caribbean coast. With the strong mesmerizing beats of modern Caribbean “Hurban” sounds, this music goes into your system like a dose of pure contagious energy!

 The Selfish Giant/El Gigante Egoísta, Saturday, April 9, 1 p.m. (English) and 3:30 p.m. (Spanish) in Queens Theatre’s Studio Theatre. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

A classic tale about a giant who builds a wall around his garden to keep out the town’s children but in doing so plunges his garden into an endless winter. Traveling, Depression-era hucksters transform their wares to tell a much-needed story. A celebration of the power of stories to divide us or bring us closer together.

 Tickets are available for $15 each for seating in all sections. Purchases of four tickets will receive a $5 discount (use code FAMILY4) and are $55. 

 Maduritas, Macrobioticas y Multiorgasmicas, Sunday, April 10, 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. in Queens Theatre’s Studio Theatre

“Maduritas, Macrobioticas y Multiorgasmicas” (“Mature, Macrobiotics and Multiorgasmics”) is a dark comedy, written by Cristian Cortez, directed by Franco Galecio, and starring Kathy Tejada, Fior Marte and Melba Miranda. Life is understood from love and heartbreaks. But when we pass the barrier of years and wrinkles become our inseparable companions, everything changes — except good friends who are together until the end and beyond! This show is in Spanish.

 Los Pleneros de la 21, Sunday, April 10, 3 p.m. on Queens Theatre’s main stage.

Based in East Harlem, Los Pleneros de la 21 (LP21) builds cultural bridges through exhilarating concerts and engaging performance workshops, with all activities guided by a mission to foster awareness, appreciation, performance and development of the Puerto Rican artistic traditions of African and Creole descent known as Bomba and Plena.

Founded in 1983 by NEA Heritage Fellow Juan Gutiérrez in partnership with his mentor, Marcial Reyes Arvelo, LP21 developed from the traditional transmission of these cultural expressions, learning “at the knees” of elder masters to form the philosophy underpinning its programs and performances. Bringing grassroots bomba and plena music and dance to prominent stages and classrooms worldwide, now virtually as well as in person, its programs embed education and awareness into performances, expanding access to local cultural arts of the highest caliber.

Affordable ticket prices range from $15 to $30 and discounted prices are for senior citizens and students. To purchase your tickets and reserve a spot, click here

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