Get ready to dance! Global Mashup Series brings Haitian dance and Latin music to Flushing Town Hall this Saturday

global mashup
Jalopy Theater’s special takeover of the Queens venue’s popular Global Mashup series will feature Haitian dance and Salsa music
Photo courtesy of Flushing Town Hall

Are you ready for a unique mashup of amazing Caribbean music and dance this May? Flushing Town Hall is hosting another edition of their popular Global Mashup Series, where Haitian dance meets Puerto Rican salsa music on stage this Saturday, May 4.  

Brooklyn-based Jalopy Theatre, will take over Flushing Town Hall, bringing the lively Haitian folk dancing troupe La Troupe Zetwal, Latin jazz artist Willie Martinez and the NYC Salsa All-Stars to the neighborhood. 

Audience members are encouraged to arrive early for a 7 p.m. dance lesson with the troupe. At 8 p.m., they can put their moves to the test as they enjoy sets from each performance group leading up to a “mashing up” grand finale featuring the ultimate global jam session.

Sherley Davilmar-St. Fort, artistic director and choreographer with La Troupe Zetwal, explained how the dancers tell the history of Haitian culture through their performances. “The dance pieces are from all over different parts of Haiti to represent different points in history and you can see it through the traditional Haitian costumes we wear and the movement through the pieces,” she said. 

Davilmar-St. Fort said the audience can look forward to learning more about the religion of Haiti, including the voodoo elements of the culture. She added that she was excited for audience members to hear how well the sounds from Haiti and Latin America would blend together in the final performance. “We are all connected, whether from Haiti or any part of Latin America. We’re not only connected through where we’re from; we’re connected through the instruments and the music as well,” she said.

Haitian dance troupe La Troupe Zetwal is set to perform at Sunday’s Global Mashup event. Photo courtesy of Flushing Town Hall

Founded in 2001, La Troupe Zetwal is a multicultural dance group that has been based in New York for over a decade. The troupe specializes in traditional Haitian dance accompanied by live drumming and percussion. The troupe has produced an array of commissioned and sponsored events throughout the city and NYC schools. The programs are sponsored by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Brooklyn Arts Council.

Martinez, a longtime fixture in NYC’s diverse music scene, expressed his eagerness to take the stage and showcase Latin music to the local community. He gave a sneak peek as to what the audience can expect on Saturday. “It’s basically a classic New York City style salsa band. We call ourselves the New York City Salsa All Stars because many of the group members are leaders in their own right.” he said. “We just come together as a cooperative to play the best Latin music that you’re going to hear in New York City.”

Willie Martinez is eager to perform at Saturday’s Global Mashup event. Courtesy of Flushing Town Hall

Martinez, 62, said his love for music developed at a young age. At 10 years old, he fell in love with listening to his father’s vinyl records and knew he would later pursue music as a career. Martinez is a drummer, composer, arranger and vocalist specializing in Latin Jazz and Afro-Cuban music. He said Saturday’s event is a perfect way to bring together the ‘world’s borough’.

“One thing that I feel very strongly about is that Latin music, and I would think Haitian music as well, Caribbean music in a lot of ways because it’s based in African rhythms, dance is a big part of the component of this music,” he said.  “I really love that we’re going to be providing a world-class dance instructor to get the audience involved, and hopefully, they’ll be able to have fun not only listening to our music but participating in it with their feet.”

Saturday’s performance is an early sneak peek for Jalopy Theater’s upcoming Brooklyn International Music Festival, which will take place in early June. The festival will showcase the diversity of the global Caribbean diaspora right here in New York City. 

Tickets for the performance are $20 for General Admission and $15 for members, seniors, and students with ID. Tickets can be purchased here or by calling the box office at 718-463-7700 extension 222.