By Tammy Scileppi

The language of dance is universal, and now the borough’s thriving community of movement artists have joined forces to bring the inaugural Queensboro Dance Festival to Long Island City beginning Monday and running through Sunday, Oct. 26.

Organizers hope to capture the joy of expressive movement with a dynamic array of must-see performances

The idea for this first-of-its-kind festival was formed at LIC’s The Physical Plant, an innovative dance group comprised of diverse collaborators, which has partnered with the Secret Theatre’s owner and veteran actor/director/writer and musician, Richard Mazda, to present this event.

TPP’s founder and Artistic Director, Karesia Batan, said her group’s mission is to develop the changing nuances of the mind-body connection.

Queens-based choreographers and dance companies set to perform next week include the Neville Dance Theatre.

For the past nine years Forest Hills resident Brenda Neville’s company has been hailed as “compelling,” “imaginative” and a “pure delight” by audiences and critics alike.

Her emotionally charged works capture a colorful tapestry of movement, woven from diverse dance styles. Neville has said her mission is to create expressive pieces that explore the human spirit and our shared world. This global concept is evident in the cast’s dance specialties, ranging from Argentine tango to flamenco to traditional Mexican folk dancing.

“Dance offers a never-ending means of expression and world exploration,” she said. “With a pure ability to break through language barriers and social boundaries, movement has the ability to unite and inspire people of all races and nations, and through my works, I strive to do the same.”

At the Queensboro Dance Festival, NDT will perform “Awakenings,” which Neville describes as a tender lullaby of nurturing love that permits one’s freedom for unabridged curiosity and the self-assuredness to stand on one’s own.

A faculty ballet teacher at The Ailey School and Covenant Ballet Theatre of Brooklyn, Neville also guest teaches classes and workshops at Steps on Broadway and PMT Studios in NYC and her students can be seen on Broadway in “The Lion King,” on television in “So You Think You Can Dance,” and in companies and schools across the country, such as American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, LaGuardia Performing Arts High School (in LIC) and The Ailey School.

“Dances are personal movement memories of intimate thoughts and reflections, designed with no other purpose than to be shared openly with others,” she said.

Specializing in classical ballet, Argentine tango and flamenco for 20-plus years, Neville has performed, taught and choreographed in Europe and over 18 countries, including Argentina, China, Japan and Spain.

Choreographer Lucia Rodriguez lives in the Jackson Heights-Corona area and her collective is an up-and-coming contemporary dance company that focuses on “the dancers’ natural and inherent ways of moving.”

For the festival, LRC will be showcasing “Dawn,” a piece created earlier this year at Florida State University’s Days of Dance showcase.

Rodriguez has performed with Dumbo Festival and Urban Bush Women.

Another festival performance is Tink, described as a female duet demonstrating the nurturing and demanding qualities of an unconditional relationship, and performed to a soothing and ambient score.

Movement artist, Michelle Amara Micca, who currently dances for The Physical Plant, lives in Astoria, which she said she loves, “especially having grown up in the countryside of Maine…the quieter neighborhood feel of Astoria is peaceful after a day in the hustle of Manhattan.”

She said Tink evolves from quiet, picturesque moments and explodes in cringing violence and describes the movement as varying from ethereal and inviting to contorted and aggressive, celebrating femininity and strength through the exploration of two vastly different characters and their relationship.

Micca said she works with “flesh, physicality, and form through various performance mediums, to expose and celebrate essential human relationships and experiences.”

One of her two collaborative films, “Space Guns,” won Best Film in the Sparrow Film Festival 11 at Museum of the Moving Image, and since moving to the city, she has presented her choreography at places like the Green Space Blooms Festival, and Queens Fringe Festival.

Director/choreographer, Ariana Champlin, whose works have been presented at venues across the United States and Canada, including Queens’ Green Space Festival, will also be performing with her 49th Parallel Dance Company. She will present an excerpt of her new work, “Shades of Light,” created for 49th Parallel’s show, PATHWAYS, in which four choreographers created a piece with life stories and individual pathways as their common theme. The performance is in five sections, each vignette telling its own story.

“The audience can expect to see the dancers move with a fluid athletic quality and with a deep connection to the emotion each excerpt requires,” she said. “I’m thrilled to be a part of the first year of the Festival!

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