A Queens native is about to make her triumphant return, and the homecoming is cause for dancing.

Body Traffic, a Los Angeles-based repertory troupe that Whitestone-bred Tina Finkelman Berkett co-founded with Lillian Barbeito in 2007, will offer three performances at Queens Theatre this weekend – April 7 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and April 8 at 3 p.m.

Berkett, a graduate of P.S. 79 and J.H.S. 194 who did her first pirouettes, splits, and feather steps at Invitation to Dance in Whitestone and Pat Hannafin’s in College Point, informed QNS that this performance is a sampler of contemporary dance. It consists of four completely different pieces in terms of music, costume, and movement by a total of seven dancers.

The first one is a demonstration of technical prowess with some mystery and sexuality mixed in. “You get to see what our dance chops are made of,” Berkett said.

The second piece tends toward theater. The performers wear ball gowns and speak on stage. They interact in comedic ways and demonstrate Body Traffic’s character.

There’s an intermission, and the third piece is ballet-based with a lot of partnering and Gregorian chanting in the background. It shows the audience the troupe’s delicate side.

The finale is Body Traffic’s signature work, “O2Joy,” which is done to Jazz music, including songs by Ella Fitzgerald, who lived in the Addisleigh Park section of St. Albans. It’s full of personality and fancy foot work.

Tickets run from $20 to $42. Queens Theatre is located at 14 United Nations Ave. S. in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

Berkett noted that she has performed at The Joyce Theatre in Manhattan many times since moving to Los Angeles, but this weekend’s series will be her first show in her childhood borough since her departure to the West Coast.

“It’s exciting,” she said. “Manhattan is not the New York that I grew up in. Queens feels like home.”

Top image: Tomasz Rossa, gallery images: Queens Theatre


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