• January 20, 2020
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Queens Chronicle

Dancing, drawing, puppets and more

Flushing Town Hall launched its Jan. to June calendar of 80 programs

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Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2020 10:30 am | Updated: 11:34 am, Thu Jan 16, 2020.

The lengthy body and giant head of a Chinese dragon puppet danced its way toward the Flushing Town Hall stage in the traditional Dragon Walk to sample a taste of what the center has to offer this upcoming year.

Puppetry in Practice produced the dragon for its Jan. 18 performance, Lunar New Year Tradition, which celebrates the Chinese New Year and 2020 as the Year of the Rat. The program is just one of 80 that Flushing Town Hall announced at its January to June events launch on Jan. 7.

“In 2020, we are bringing the best and brightest of performances, from here at home and from across the globe, to Flushing,” said Executive and Artistic Director Ellen Kodadeck. “Our mission is global arts for a global community.”

The program schedule opened on the evening of Jan. 8, with a puppetry workshop in which teachers from Chinese Theatre Works led participants in the creation and crafting of shadow puppets. Second installments are slated for Jan. 9 and 15. Concerts, such as the Monthly Jazz Jam and Five Boroughs Music Festival, are set to follow on Jan. 8 and 10, respectively, as well as Live Drawing with Models on Jan. 13.

Despite executing programs and performances so far in January, Flushing Town Hall will celebrate its Season Welcome Party on Jan. 25 with an interactive dance workshop in preparation for a “danceable” performance by Grupo Rebolu, an Afro-Colombian musical ensemble that interprets traditional Colombian music to reflect its New York home. Afterward, participants are invited to bring their own instruments for a post-show jam with the band.

Councilmember Peter Koo (D-Flushing), a longtime supporter of Flushing Town Hall’s programs, attended the launch.

“A city without culture and arts is like a body without a soul,” said Koo. “It’s important that we have culture, and culture includes a lot of things. Different countries have different cultures and we live in a wonderful place in Queens — the most diverse county in the whole country.”

The launch featured a performance by a few members of Jarana Beat, a musical group that blends Mexican folk and Afro-American musical tradition. The group performed a teaser of an original composition for its upcoming album before announcing it’ll be back to further culture-mash in the popular program Global Mashup. They’ll perform April 18 with Astrograss, a high-energy bluegrass, old-time Celtic music and dance group. Dance lessons will precede the concert.

The ceremony included a second performance by Artistic Director of Music From China Wang Guowei, who performed on the erhu. He used the “Chinese, two-string fiddle” to transform an ancient Chinese poem — that tells the tale of two friends coming together for a cup of wine before parting ways — to life. Guowei will return as a member of a Chinese strings quintet and join Western flute performers to translate Shijing poetry to music on April 5.

For more information on upcoming events, how to reserve tickets or become a member, visit flushingtownhall.org, or visit the Queens Chronicle Community Calendar to see what else is happening.

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