Queensboro Dance Festival returns this month

Queensboro Dance Festival
Queensboro Dance Festival returns this month, kicking off performances in Flushing June 4. (Photo by Josef Pinlac)

The Queensboro Dance Festival (QDF) tour will start this weekend, Saturday, June 4, kicking off a month-long celebration presenting dozens of performances across the borough. 

The first performances will take place at the Queens Night Market in Flushing on June 4 at 10 p.m. and the Queens Pride Parade on June 5 in Jackson Heights. 

The festival brings together a total of 26 Queens-based dance companies with over 30 free outdoor performances and classes. This year, dances represent a large swath of cultures in Queens, featuring West African, Afro Latin, Colombian, Greek dances and more. 

Before the pandemic, the Queensboro Dance Festival brought about 10,000 audience members every summer, and after taking a break due to COVID-19 restrictions, organizers are hoping for an equally robust turnout this year. 

Queensboro Dance Festival
Photo by Josef Pinlac

Founder Karesia Batan said that the festival brings a unique opportunity to promote cultural exchanges and a sense of pride in Queens. 

“Queens is such a unique place and is relatively unsung outside of the borough,” Batan said. “Our mission is to strengthen the dance community here and inspire a greater appreciation of Queens dance, so we aim to leave this impression when people come experience our festival.”

The Queensboro Dance Festival, which was founded in 2014, is partnering with two new major arts initiatives, Queens Rising and Turnout Queens, to further expand the visibility of Queens artists.

“This year, we’ve added a couple new locations and formed new partnerships to offer additional pop-up programs, like live music dance parties,” Batan said.

Queensboro Dance Festival
Photo by Josef Pinlac

“As we grow, it’s been so exciting to discover the depth of cultural richness Queens has through dance. It’s our goal to truly represent the World’s Borough and be a platform for underrepresented cultures. We tour across the borough, so the more communities we engage with, the more artists we try to connect with to be part of our dance community.” 

The Queensboro Dance Festival has connected with over 130 Queens-based dance companies to date.

Dahyun Kim, a new participant, will be performing at this year’s festival.

“I am super excited to get down and have a good time with everybody,” Kim said. “It truly is an honor to have an opportunity to visit all these different places in Queens, while also performing my work.”

After this weekend, QDF will take over Windmuller Park in Woodside on June 11 and 12, Leavitts Park in Flushing on June 19 and Far Rockaway Beach 17 June 25 and 26. 

For more information on the lineup, visit the Queensboro Dance Festival website. 

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